Saturday, 5 December 2015

Annual Moth Review. Part 3: August - November

A few trips away with the tent meant not full coverage for August, but nevertheless, some excellent records for the county. A good haul in the garden on 02.viii.15 included 4 new for my parish records, in the shape of Euzophera pinguis, Caryocolum blandana (10th county record), Acleris cristana and Bryotropha affinis.
The following night Elasticha cannapennella and a difficult to identify micro. Looked to be heading towards Depressaria douglasella, an extinct Herts moth, recorded once in 1917. Upon dissection it turned out to be the less rare D. chaerophylli, with 5 county records, most quite recently. Still a pleasing moth to take.
On the 6th another Coleophora sp, this time C. saxicolella before a rustic the following night became the 4000th moth record for the year and this was followed the next evening (8th) by a flame carpet being the 350th species for the year. Records were now beginning to build up. However, a netting with headtorch session along quiet village lanes came up with a small micro, showing 2 distinctive dots. Initial identification led me to Acompsia schmidtiellus. This was OK until I noted it was another Herts extinct, recorded once in 1953 from Welwyn. Another for Graeme to dissect and create a slide for Colin the county recorder to approve. This turned out to be a correct identification and my second Herts extinct of the year. Most gratifying. Interestingly, the foodplant is wild majoram, which grows in abundance just 200 yards from where I netted it, so worth noting the date and checking the banks of River Ash where the plant grows next August.
Euzophera pinguis
Acleris cristana

Bryotropha affinis
On the 16th Donacaula forficella was taken in Millennium Wood, Bryotropha senectella on the 21st and a surprise macro, Lesser spotted pinion on the 22nd. These were the last 3 new moths for the month and took the totals to 183 macros and, after a recount on new micro records, 174. So: 357 species so the target of 400 for the year was set and this appeared to be achieveable.
September and a few days birding in The Camargue for my annual trip meant no new moths were taken until 12th, whilst a copper underwing on the 8th became the 5000th record for the year. New target: could I pass 6000 records and 400 species in a year?
On the 12th a 2nd visit to Millennium Wood with locals in attendance and a good haul of moths including Paraswammerdamia albicapitella, Acleris emargana and Epinotia nisella.
On the 18th, another expected macro was recorded, White point and this became the 300th macro for my parish records. On the 23rd another tricky moth of the Dioryctria species. My studies with hand held lens had me thinking D. sylvestrella. My only concern on my id was that this would be a new moth for Herts. A female, so no value in dissection, so off to Graeme. He thought the same, so off to Colin, who confirmed my original id. Another good record for the year.
Finally, September finished with another macro species, Pale pinion on the 28th taking the growing totals to 180 micros and 196 macros: 376 species since 01.iii.15. Not too bad at all.
Lots of new for year records, as expected in October, but the only new for parish records was a Plutella porrectella on the 12th. A feathered thorn in the garden on the 10th was my 200th macro for the year. This helped move my records to 212 macros and 182 micros; 394 species.
And so to November and on 1st of the month a meeting in Millennium Wood with Graeme, Colin and 11 local residents and 12 children. A leaf mining day. Children were dispatched with bags, having been shown what to look for and within half an hour we had 20+ bags of leaves to wade through. A fascinating morning and in total, once Colin came back with his identifications, 24 new micros for the parish records. Excellent time and one I hope to repeat next year in a different wood within the parish. Millennium Wood, by the name, is only 15 years old so few mature trees around the boundary, the rest just establishing themselves, but all native ones.
on the 18th another netting session with Graeme and Steve in Millennium Wood gave up Acleris logiana, Acleris ferrugana and a dotted chestnut as new for parish records. Stigmella salicis became the 400th moth species of the year and on the 26th, a winter moth became the 6000th record for the year. Targets achieved!
In all, with putting the Skinner away on 02.xii.15 the annual records stood at 6066 moth records made up of 217 macro species and 211 micro species. This constitutes a most pleasing total of 428 species for the year.
The additions to the parish records mean that they presently stand at 304 macros and 269 micros, 573 species, so certainly should pass 600 during next year.
The plans for 2016 include the purchase of a heath actinic battery powered trap which I plan to use outside in a variety of habitats every evening as well as to continue to use the Skinner in the garden. There are several good looking sites within the parish that I have earmarked for trapping. I have received full permission to run traps in most woods, with a few sites still pending. Should be an exciting year.
Finally, a huge thank you to Graeme J Smith for his help with tricky identifications and dissections. Without this valuable support, I would be none the wiser on the trickier identifications of micros. Great stuff.
pale pinion

Plutella porrectella
lesser spotted pinion

Millennium Wood moth night: nets, head torches, specimen tubes and beer.
Flame carpet: 350th moth species for the year

Acleris emargana

Pale mottled willow with Cheletomorpha lepidopterum mites: planning a study next year.
See Vol 127, Part 6, pages 265 -266 of Entomologist's Record and Journal of Variation.

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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander