Saturday 30 June 2018

Orange-tailed Clearwing

Orange-tailed Clearwing
A trip up to the north Somerset coast with Martin this morning for Orange-tailed Clearwing. We didn't have to wait too long before one of these stunning insects was bothering the lure at Apex Pools, Burnham-on-Sea. Even more impressive than yesterday's Yellow-legged Clearwing, this species sports a dazzling orange abdomen tip which is easily visible in flight. The larvae feed by boring in to the stems of the Wayfaring Tree and Guelder Rose. As far as I'm aware you can't see this species in Devon but I should probably check that.
We decided to look at Berrow Beach dunes before returning home, and enjoyed a pleasant stroll in absolutely stunning weather. Plenty of butterflies were on the wing and moths were represented by Scarlet Tiger, Silver Y and Six-spot Burnet. Back for lunch.

Pyramidal Orchid - Berrow Beach

A very neat beetle species.

Essex Skipper - note the black 'ink-dipped'  tips to the antennae. Both Small and Large Skipper were also present in the dunes.

Looking across to Brean Down from Berrow Beach dunes.

Scarlet Tiger - Berrow Beach

Common Broomrape - The plant has no chlorophyll so doesn't photosynthesise. Instead it parasitizes other plants.

Large Grey - Scoparia subfusca from the trap last night.

Common Drill - Dichrorampha petiverella

Four-spotted Footman - male. Other firsts for the year last night included Scalloped Oak, Dark Spectacle, Pale Mottled Willow, Codling Moth and Grass Emerald.

Friday 29 June 2018

Yellow-legged Clearwing

Male Yellow-legged Clearwing - the second one to arrive landed briefly on a nettle before disappearing. The first one was caught and is photographed below.
My first ever pheromone lure arrived in the post on Tuesday, so I've spent a bit of time after work trying to find them locally. Tonight, following a conversation with Martin, I tried a site in Topsham and within seconds my first ever Yellow-legged Clearwing was buzzing around excitedly beside the lure. I caught it easily with a butterfly net and photographed it in a specimen tube.
The species is scarce but probably under-recorded, as they don't come to light traps, and the chances of finding one by chance are miniscule. Experts are able to locate the larvae or pupae in oak stumps, but lures are the easiest way to see them. I purchased the lure from Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies for £9.50, including postage and packaging. It's just a small plastic vial that has been impregnated with artificial pheromone, 'cooked up' in a university laboratory. It certainly does the trick but is species-specific, although this particular one works on Orange-tailed Clearwing too...
This Nationally Scarce B species is readily identifiable by its largely yellow legs - a stunning moth and only my second clearwing, following Tim's Currant Clearwing at the beginning of the month.

This is the small plastic vial that has been impregnated with artificial pheromone.

The vial is placed in a small wrap of muslin and pegged close to the foodplant.
It's a hit and miss business but unbelievably satisfying when it works!
Two or three Small Skippers were nectaring on bramble nearby, along with a Large Skipper.

Thursday 28 June 2018

Small Purple Button

Small Purple Button - Spatalistis bifasciana - a new micro for me and apparently quite a scarce species.

My first Lackey of the year. Apparently they're getting big numbers of these on Portland at the moment. The only immigrant species last night was a single Silver Y.


My first Toadflax Pug of 2018. A single Foxglove Pug was trapped too. I'd hoped to photograph the two similar species side by side, but the Foxglove took off.
This Bird-cherry Ermine was another 2018 first, along with Dot Moth and Haworth's Pug, which also took off before I could catch it.
An interestingly-marked Heart and Dart.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

GND, Red Kite and Restharrow Piercer

 Evening Primrose at dawn on the Maer.
A non-breeding plumaged Great Northern Diver flew close in, along the seafront early this morning. Otherwise just 4 Sandwich Terns, and a dozen last night - no sign of a Rosy.
Staying with birds - a single Red Kite over the house today, and a Hobby just inside the Exmouth boundary.

I've finally found a Restharrow Piercer, Cydia microgrammana. This one on the Maer shortly after dawn this morning.

Red Kite

Large Red Damselfly

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Common but Lovely

Small Blood-vein

A Buzzard runs the gauntlet of the local roof-nesting Herring Gulls

Yarrow Plume

FFY Rosy Footman

Barred Straw
 Golden-ringed Dragonfly - Orcombe Point



Sunday 24 June 2018

Thistle Patch

Large Skipper - I'm seeing really good numbers of these at the moment. There were several of these on a thistle patch at West Lodge this afternoon, and nearby my first Small Skipper of the year.

 Marbled White - plentiful at West Lodge alongside the cycle track.

Good numbers of Meadow Brown too.

Six-spot Burnet - a Five-spot seen briefly this afternoon too.

Thistle Ermine on thistle.

I'm gonna stick my neck out and suggest Coast Leafcutter Bee for this one. A distinctive whitish patch beneath the abdomen and a habit of holding its abdomen at almost 90 degrees to its thorax when feeding, which it did in a furious manner.

Caterpillar sp - Edit - Knotgrass - thanks Kev.

Adult Mediterranean Gull - Mudbank. This and a first-summer present this afternoon.

Dark Arches - such a common moth but beautifully and intricately marked when freshly emerged.

Dwarf Cream Wave - one of at least 3 in the trap last night, making their first appearance this year.

I think both the above and below moths are Brown Elm Bell - Epinotia abbreviana but not so sure about the lower one.

July Highflyer - another first for the year and master of camouflage.

Eudonia sp - think this is ambigualis.

Caterpillar sp.

White-foot Bell - Epiblema foenella - a very distinctive 'micro' being both large and strikingly marked. I usually see one or two of these a year. The larvae feed on the roots and stems of Mugwort and Southernwood.