Friday, 20 July 2018

Daisy Bent-wing

Daisy Bent-wing - Bucculatrix nigricomella - trapped a few days ago but I've only just managed to put a name to it. Identifying micros cans be a torturous process, and I draw the line at dissecting or 'gen det'ing them. This tiny little moth isn't illustrated in 'Sterling, Parsons and Lewington' but I was able to narrow it down and use the excellent to get the final id (which may well be wrong by the way).

Shaded Broad-bar - flushed on yesterday evening's dog walk.

Gold Spot - an unbelievably stunning moth but not at all rare.

Hoary Footman

Got a bit of work to do on these two Tortrix species but the above is possibly 'Dark Fruit-tree Tortrix and below could be the same?

Small Purple and Gold - Pyrausta aurata


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Barn Owl

Barn Owl - Otterton.
Up at 5am this morning to do a pre-work survey at a private site, not too far away from Exmouth. This bird flew in to the field I was surveying and hunted for 7 minutes, affording lovely views, but the light was terrible for photography. I don't think a Barn Owl has featured on this blog before - a sign of how rarely I see this species and how rarely I stray from the confines of Exmouth.
I've yet to see a live Barn Owl in Exmouth but I did find the well-decayed remains of one on Orcombe Point several years ago. A single bird was apparently present on a farm in Exmouth towards the end of last year but there just isn't the requisite habitat to hold one. Modern farming practices have made life very difficult for this species.

Bud Moth - Spilonota ocellana

Bright Bell - Eucosma hohenwartiana.

Silver Y - about a dozen trapped last night, along with a single Rusty Dot Pearl - the only immigrant representatives. I love the subtle colours and patterns on Silver Ys. My photos don't do them justice.

Slender Brindle - only the second I've trapped in Exmouth.

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

YLG and Moth Confusion

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull. I haven't been bitten by the usual YLG bug this year, but it was still good to find this individual loafing off Mudbank this afternoon. The beach has been so busy and the mothing so good, that YLG searching has been far from the forefront of my mind.

Juvenile Herring on the left and YLG on the right.


This extremely weakly-marked Heart and Club was initially thought possibly to be my first Sand Dart. Its overall sandy colouration and poorly defined kidney and dart marks certainly had me fooled. Thanks to Barry Henwood for putting me straight. Below is how I'm used to seeing Heart and Club.
Heart and Club - 20/6/18

Marbled Piercer - Cydia Splendana - one of the more distinctive micros and one of my favourites. It's small but compared to the micros below it's a giant.
Apple Leaf Miner

Micro sp - only c3mm long and barely visible let alone photographable!

Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner - also incredibly tiny.

Parornix sp

Parornix sp next to a 5p coin to give some idea of size.

Burnished Brass

Small Phoenix

Scorched Carpet - one of two trapped last night.

Lime-speck Pug - my first this year.

Sunday, 15 July 2018

Bittersweet Fanner

Bittersweet Fanner - Acrolepia autumnitella - the larvae apparently mine the leaves of Bittersweet or Deadly Nightshade. This and White-legged Case-bearer were new 'micros' for me.

Female Beautiful Demoiselle - I was pleased to discover good numbers of this species utilising little sun traps beside the stream that runs alongside the Maer long stay carpark.

Male Beautiful Demoiselle - above and below.

Two potential confusion species - Clay on the left and the immigrant White Point on the right. Other immigrants trapped last night were half a dozen Silver Y and a single Dark Sword-grass.

Male Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

September Thorn

White-legged Case-bearer - Coleophora albitarsella
Barred Red

Saturday, 14 July 2018

Bordered Beauty, Smoky-barred Marble and Purple Hairstreak

Bordered Beauty - a truly stunning moth. Otherwise last night's catch was disappointing, though 12 Silver Ys was a good haul for me. Interestingly, although I don't catch too many of these, I caught one on exactly the same date last year. The larval foodplants are Grey Willow, Black Poplar, Alder and Hazel, according to 'Waring and Townsend'.
On the bird front - a Reed Warbler in full song from reeds opposite Lower Halsdon Farm, and right next to the railway line, was a real surprise.
A walk around Blackhill Quarry and Bystock produced massive numbers of butterflies with the highlight being Purple Hairstreak.

Smoky-barred Marble - Lobesia abscisana - only my second record of this species.


Silver-washed Fritillary

Painted Lady

White Admiral

Purple Hairstreak

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Sharp-angled Carpet

 A quick trip out to Saint Hill after work this afternoon, to have a look at my first Sharp-angled Carpet. Martin has trapped this species before but it's a localised species that doesn't turn up too often. Superficially similar to Common Carpet, it's a really handsome species - way better than I was expecting in fact. Thanks Martin.
Plain Golden Y - I couldn't resist photographing this and Garden Tiger whilst at Martin's. I trap Plain Golden Y occasionally in Exmouth but it has been well over a decade since I've trapped Garden Tiger, though I used to get loads of them out in Rockbeare. They've declined dramatically since then.
Garden Tiger - one of two in Martin's trap last night.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

Dingy Shell and Dark Knapweed Conch

Dingy Shell - trapped at Saint Hill, near Kentisbeare - many thanks Martin. This species likes damp woodland and marshy areas, which doesn't best describe where Martin lives. In fact I'm arguably in a more suitable area, but I haven't scored with this little 'Geometrid' yet! The resting posture (shown above) is very distinctive for this species. Its wings are always closed in a butterfly-like fashion.
A decent selection of moths trapped in ideal conditions last night. They included at least half a dozen Silver Y, 1 Rusty Dot Pearl and a couple Diamond-back on the immigrant front, and firsts for 2018 included Cabbage Moth, Herald, Lobster Moth, Leopard Moth, Phoenix and Scallop Shell. Moth 'du jour' however was my first ever Dingy Shell, safely transported to Exmouth courtesy of Martin.
I normally like to photograph moths 'out of the pot' but we didn't want to risk losing this one, and it will be released safely back in Kentisbeare later this evening. Thanks again Martin.
Knapweed Conch - Agapeta zoegana - dark form. Knapweed Conch is my absolute favourite 'micro', so I was chuffed to see the dark form today - a first for me. Below is what they usually look like.
This one was photographed in Rockbeare a few years ago.

Presumed Brown Elm Bell Epinotia abbreviana - such a variable species.

Micro sp - a work in progress and just c4-5mm long.

Slender Pug - I'm catching more of these than Haworth's Pug at the moment.
Haworth's Pug

Nut-tree Tussock

Buff Footman


Leopard Moth

Lobster Moth


Gold Triangle

Ermine sp - I'm catching lots of these at the moment, but I'm no closer to identifying them. Having said that, the size, grey sheen on white and tiny black spots perhaps point to Willow Ermine.

Ermine sp

Rustic - a few of these starting to turn up now. Their confusion species - Uncertain are still around but looking less and less fresh.

Micro sp - another work in progress but possibly Horse Chestnut Leaf-miner?

Grey Knot-horn - Acrobasis advenella

 Scallop Shell - a truly gorgeous moth which would have been today's highlight were it not for the  Dingy Shell.