Friday, 4 May 2012

Some new moths at last !

I had the moth box out in the back yard on the night of the 1st/2nd May and wasn't really expecting too much. I checked the trap before going to bed and found a male shuttle shaped dart on the wall near the trap which I potted up to have a proper look at in the morning. I noticed an unfamiliar moth in the trap just before it had a hissy fit and flew all over the place before escaping and flying away but on checking the guide book I thought it might have been a waved umber, the caterpillars of which feed on lilac and jasmine, both of which I have in the back yard.

The next morning the moth was back in the trap and was indeed a waved umber, a new moth for me and the garden. Also in the trap were the usual 2 light brown apple moths and a very small micro moth which flew off before I could take a photo but which I think was Tachystola acroxantha, another import from Australia like the light brown apple moth and doing well in the UK.

Waved Umber

Shuttle Shaped Dart - Male

The 2nd May was bright and sunny and turned out to be very warm and pleasant, perfect for a trip to Bude with the outlaws to put the awning up on the caravan. The caravan site was quite boggy with all the rain but the awning was duly put up without too much difficulty. Apparently the site is not doing so well with the economic woes and the bad weather along with concerns about petrol availabilty and it might close at the end of the season, a big shame as I always enjoy my time in Bude and have had some amazing wildlife encounters there including moths.

I checked out the toilet blocks with no luck but on checking the chemical waste hut with the security light on the roof I found 3 moths - a brimstone moth, an angle shades and a new moth for me, a brindled beauty which did live up to its name, being a very attractive and furry looking moth.

Brimstone Moth

Angle Shades

Brindled Beauty - a male with feathered antennae

Other wildlife included 7 whimbrel flying over calling, 4 buzzards soaring high overhead, a skulking male whitehtroat singing quietly to itself in the hedge behind the caravan and plenty of swallows hawking insects with a few sand and house martins. I didn't see any swifts though. At Maer Lake a common sandpiper fed along the waters edge with 10 dunlin, 8 of which were in summer plumage, and 3 male and 2 female teal were feeding on the water. 3 sedge warblers were heard singing and a blackcap, a whitethroat and a chiffchaff were all seen singing with a second chiffchaff also heard. 2 male orange tip butterflies were the first of the year and I found a froghopper in the cut grass by the caravan while lots of St.Marks flies were buzzing around.

The 3rd May was a complete contrast again, cool and overcast, so I had a quick walk along the coast path at Wembury. 12 summer plumaged dunlin were feeding on a mass of seaweed at the waters edge with 3 ringed plover and at least 30 whimbrel were counted although they were nervous and flighty. At least 15 wheatears were seen along the beach, 4 together on the beach by the sewage pipe and 11 on the rocks below the horse field, but again they were very nervous and flighty and were constantly on the move. At least 6 whitethroats were seen singing and songflighting along with a blackcap, and chiffchaffs were heard. Swallows were busily hawking for insects around the horse stables. Offshore 7 adult gannets were heading East and 3 little egrets flew along the coast towards the Yealm estuary.

Whimbrel feeding in the horse field

I had the moth trap out in the back yard again overnight on the 3rd/4th May and caught..... 2 light brown apple moths! I also had a small micro moth which I am trying to identify, I can't wait for the new micro moth guide book to be published at the end of the month which will hopefully help with my ID of micro moths, I always stuggle with ID'ing them. I also can't wait for some more decent weather and some more moths other than light brown apple moths!

And the black winged stilts left North Devon overnight on the 1st/2nd May and have yet to be relocated while the single bird remains in North Cornwall - I had hoped they might have moved to Maer Lake at Bude but no such luck!

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