A more productive night than of late with the extra warmth in the air under the clouds and a collection of 36 macro species in the trap this morning. Pride of place to the Toadflax Pug, a garden first. I thought I had one earlier in the year but closer inspection revealed it was a small and very well-marked Foxglove.
Early Thorn - a second generation moth following the first generation one that I trapped back in late March
Willow Beauty of a dark form, had a similar individual last summer
Ruby Tiger - not so many in my garden as some trappers get in the county but had a nice handful of records last year and two together this week.
The southern end of this site is only about a mile from my house and the area is a frequent option for a short walk on a fine summer afternoon or a more thorough exploration during bird migration periods. This Sunday was the first time for a couple of weeks where weather conditions have looked good for butterflies so I got out for a couple of hours while it was still warm. The meadow at the south-western corner of the site was dominated by two species, Chalkhill Blue and Six-spot Burnet which both would have counted into three figures. The butties in particular were very active and not easy to capture an image.
Two weeks previously I had seen a Dark Green Fritillary at the northern end near Little Galley Hill, a site first for me. Hopefully they will set up a colony as the habitat is much the same as Sharpenhoe Clappers where this butty is numerous only two miles away.
Cooler, wetter weather and fewer moths to report but I still have managed to add two to the garden list this week. One is an old record thanks to gendet by our recorder. I submitted a sample of the small pugs that I was unable to identify from the glut that I had on 21/22 April. I was expecting that they were a mix of poorly marked Brindled and Oak-tree though I did have one interesting pale sandy coloured individual in the sample. I was very pleasantly surprised to find that I had TWO male Ocherous Pug records for the garden from this set. There are less than ten VC30 records and these represent the first away from the greensand ridge.
New this week was a garden first Nutmeg and a couple of expected common species.
Common Rustic agg. which confused me for a while - first for year 18/7. A small individual with a forewing of 12-13mm so same size as a Marbled Minor agg. in the trap next to it
The Nutmeg - new for garden 17/7, at least that's what I think it is, well dusted with grey
Common Wainscot - first time I have had an individual that resembles the "orange" one in the book
Mottled Rustic, a smart pale one
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, first for year 19/7
A selection of moths attracted to the trap in the last week, most of which I expected for this time of year. Two new for the garden though included one that should not be around until maybe October, adding to the list of other early appearing species that have occurred locally this year.
Juniper Carpet -new for garden 10th July. Three months early perhaps but gendet checked as male by the recorders.
Small Scallop - new for garden 10th July
Silver Y - a few of these now appearing by day and by night, I have not attracted any of the related Golden species yet
Single-dotted Wave - nine in the last two weeks
Broad-barred White - new for year 10th July
Small Emerald - new for year 5th July, also in early July last year
Small Blood-vein - new for year 4th July, I have had at least three separate individuals this week
Phoenix - new for year 12th July, five records in 2010
Burnished Brass - new for year 5th July. A very smart looking moth, all of my garden records have been of this form - juncta
I attracted this thorn sp. to the trap on late evening of the 5th July and initially identified it as an August Thorn but I was not sure as have no previous experience of this or the confusion species yet. It is a rare moth now in VC30 and also a little early so provoked some discussion and sharing of images before the ID was confirmed. What I have learnt is that the distinctive features are the wing shape (though that varies between male and female), the kink in the outer cross line at the front of the forewing, the shape of the dark marking on the hindwing, the significant curve in the inner cross-line and the dark colouration at this time of year also helps as apparently the earlier emerging September Thorns are generally pale. Thanks to Andy & Melissa for getting ID confirmed and helping to ensure this superb addition to my garden list !
Trapped this moth overnight on the 3rd July and tentatively identified it as Garden Dart. This has since been confirmed by the county recorders and represents what is now a very scarce moth in VC30. Having been in the fridge for a few days, it started to feed off my hand as soon as it woke up so I chose to release it on to a bramble flower at the bottom of the garden where it fed actively for a few minutes allowing an improved image to be captured.
Lots of excitement at Wychwood Avenue over the first few days of the month with a hot spell and six new macro moth species for the garden. Four are illustrated here and the other two (much scarcer) species to come in a later post as they are currently with the VC30 recorders for confirmation. Come back in a few days for the next installment to find out what they are !
Haworths Pug (on the scratched perspex cove of the trap) - NFG 4th July
Treble-bar - NFG 3rd July (have found on local hills in daytime earlier this year)
Common White Wave - NFG 4th July (though plenty around the local woodlands)
Dingy Shears - pair together NFG 3rd July
Scalloped Oak - NFY 3rd July, three were recorded in 2010
Short-cloaked Moth on the shed door - NFY 3rd July, just one record in 2010
Fern - second one this year, this is fresh and well marked in contrast to the previous one
Marbled Beauty - very common around these parts but not usually with this amount of orange colouration
Common Emerald - NFY 2nd July, four of these in the garden in 2010
My daughter came home from school on Friday and mentioned that they had been talking about evolution etc in class that day and the teacher had mentioned the famous study on Peppered Moths that had showed the selection of the population to the preference of the dark form during the Victorian era. Completely by coincidence I had trapped my first one of the year the previous evening and was able to show it to her. All mine I have had in the garden have been light individuals apart from one that arrived last June, which I have illustrated here alongside the normal variation.
I have been stopping regularly in a small stand of poplars just north of Luton where I found plenty of exit holes earlier in the year in the hope of seeing Hornet moth. Discovered this today peeking out of the base of one of the trunks so there is at least one that has emerged over last weekend. I'll be back later in the week if possible....
I have been birding (and general nature watching) from my base in Bedfordshire since the 1990's. From June 2010 I thought it would be fun to get into the joys of mothing so started the Wychwood Moths blog to highlight some of the successes I have had from a mature garden in Wychwood Avenue just off the A6 going north out of Luton. There maybe the odd extralimital moth or other nature images from elsewhere thrown in there as well.