Thursday, March 31, 2005

Square-spotted Clay

I've only just started making a concerted effort to locate the breeding signs and non-adult stages of lepidoptera in my garden, so it is encouraging to come across a significant find like this so soon.

This is a very locally distributed species with a stronghold in parts of East Anglia and is designated "Notable B". A recent study has found it in suitable habitat in several parts of East Anglia including the Peterborough area.

These two were feeding on Primula, although it has been recorded feeding on other low plants as well as this. The next challenge is to record the adult. They are scarce at light and come more readily to sugar or flowers.

Square-spotted Clay (Xestia rhomboidea)

Nikon CP995

Make like a stick

This is a common moth in the garden as an adult but its nice to confirm it breeding. It feeds on Ivy (Hedera).

This camouflaged defensive pose is typical of many of the geometers or measuring worms (Geometridae).

Small Dusty Wave (Idaea seriata)

Nikon CP995

Garden Spider

Nursery Web Spider (Pisaura mirablis)

Nikon CP995

Monday, March 28, 2005

Brimstone in Garden

Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)

Nikon CP995

Wood Anemones

Old Sulehay is worth a visit at any time of the year but the activity now is great. Three species of woodpecker and Nuthatch all very vocal and the display of Wood Anemones is spectacular.

Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa)

This is formed by a small gall wasp on the broken stems of bramble. Each galls contains many larvae. They were abundant in just one patch of the wood.

Blackberry Gall (Diastrophus rubi) on Bramble (Rubus fruticosus)


Nikon CP995

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Spring signs

The Sallow blossom was smelling strongly and carpets of Violets brightened up Stonepit Quarry at Old Sulehay.

Sallow (Salix)

Violet (Viola)

Nikon CP995

Robin failure

The Robins that nested so quickly in the new PBC nestbox in our garden proved to be rather unsuccessful on this attempt. The adults were noticed spending long periods off the nest and sure enough it was abandoned a couple of days ago. The clutch of eggs were cold. They will no doubt make another attempt.

Robin eggs (Erithacus rubecula)

Nikon CP995

Friday, March 25, 2005

Early Thorn Study

A montage of macro images of the Early Thorn moth.

Early Thorn Selenia dentaria, male


Nikon CP995

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Two Shoulders

Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus

Shoulder-stripe Anticlea badiata

Diurnea fagella

Nikon CP995

Monday, March 21, 2005

Oak Beauty and Twin-spotted Quaker

A couple more

Twin-spotted Quaker Orthosia munda ab. immaculata

Oak Beauty Biston strataria

Nikon CP995

Grey Wagtails, Maxey Cut

Maxey GP was back on the radar today following a Rock Pipit there in the morning. No sign of that at lunchtime but a singing Chiffchaff, 5 Green Sandpipers, 1 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 3 Shelduck among others and this pair of Grey Wagtails feeding photogenically on the Maxey Cut

Grey Wagtail (Motacilla cinerea), male


Digiscoped with Nikon CP995 and Leica APO 77.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

More mothing

A good night's mothing in the garden with another two Lead-coloured Drabs and the first Oak Nycteoline (another scarce VC31 species) for the garden.

33 moths, 8 species

15W Actinic Skinner
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda), 2
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi), 1
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta), 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica), 2
**2423 Oak Nycteoline (Nycteola revayana f.undulana), 1

125W MV homemade Robinson type
1934 Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria), 1
2182 Small Quaker (Orthosia cruda), 4
2185 Lead-coloured Drab (Orthosia populeti), 2
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi), 8
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta), 2
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica), 7
Black Sexton Beetle (Nicrophorus humator), 1

**=garden first

Lead-coloured Drab (Orthosia populeti)

Oak Nycteoline (Nycteola revayana f.undulana)

Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria)

Nikon CP995.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Mothing at Cuckoo's Hollow

A fairly productive evening at Cuckoo's Hollow with a great bunch of people. We ran a 125W MV light over a sheet and a 15W actinic over a Skinner box with sugar and wine ropes. We started at 7pm and by 9 it was getting a bit chilly so we packed up.

Perhaps the highlights were not the moths but the Toads and Newts running around near the lake. These were the moths recorded at light (none came to sugar) along with several Square-spot Rustic larvae active in the long grass.

663 Diurnea fagella, 1
688 Agonopterix heracliana, 1
1025 Tortricodes alternella, 1
1054 Acleris cristana, 1
1524 Emmelina monodactyla, 1
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia), 1
2190 Hebrew Character (Orthosia gothica), 6
2188 Clouded Drab (Orthosia incerta), 3
2187 Common Quaker (Orthosia cerasi), 18

Smooth Newt (Triturus vulgaris)

Acleris cristana

Diurnea fagella

Square-spot Rustic larva (Xestia xanthographa)

Nikon CP995.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Early Spring Moths

An active night for moths in the garden began with some searching for larvae. Foxglove, hollyhock and forgetmenot proved most productive.

Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) on Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)

Lesser Yellow Underwing (Noctua comes) on Japanese Honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) on Forgetmenot (Myosotis)

The 15W actinic trap also had a fair few spring moths in the morning. Small Quaker, Lead-coloured Drab, Common Quaker, Clouded Drab, Hebrew Character and Early Grey are in this pic.

Including the locally scarce Lead-coloured Drab for the second year running at about the same date as last year. Distinguished from the similar Clouded Drab by the feathered antennae and the rounded wingtip.

Lead-coloured Drab (Orthosia populeti)

Nikon CP995.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Glaucous Gull, Star Pit

A lesson in digiscoping

  • Ensure you are as far away from the subject as possible. This forces you to use the largest magnification eyepiece and maximum zoom on the camera.
  • Have the subject facing directly away from you to get those all important backside shots.
  • Shoot into the sun: even on a dull day this will knacker the contrast.
  • Pick a windy day and try not to hide behind anything that might stop the tripod shaking like there is an earthquake.
  • And lastly (this is the most difficult) make sure the subject never looks up when the shutter is open.

This way you can take forty pictures and still end up with nothing better than these.

Glaucous Gull (Larus hyperboreus), second calendar year

"If you turn your head like this and squint a bit, that looks just like a Caspian Gull."

Digiscoped badly using various bits of Leica and Nikon gear.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Garden Rook

Its nice to have a large bird on your fat balls now and again.

Rook (Corvus frugilegus)

Nikon CP995

Ground Beetle Larva

This little chap was scurrying about the stony ground of Stonepit Quarry at Old Sulehay. One of the few insect about in the still rather cool conditions.

Could anyone confirm the ID please?

Ground Beetle Larva?

Nikon CP995

Bank Vole

This is hardly the best shot in the world but then they aren't easy to see let alone photograph. There were two here busy collecting nesting material by a layby at Old Sulehay Quarry.

Bank Vole (Clethrionomys glareolus)

Nikon CP995

Friday, March 11, 2005

PBC Nestbox Success

This is a testament to the excellent products of PBC's conservation officer Tony Parker. I bought this box at the PBC nestbox day on 13 Feb and in less than four weeks it is occupied (haven't seen by what yet but I guess its a Robin).

Nikon CP995