Wednesday 26 October 2011

A surprise moth find !

I have been puzzling over the moth I found at Bude last Sunday and posted a photo on the Back Garden Moth Community Forum page for some ID help. I thought it was a faded brindled green but it has since been ID'd as a feathered ranunculus, a new moth for me.

I then reviewed some more photos I took of a moth I caught in the back yard on the 19th September and some moths I found in the toilet block at Wembury in October and have realised they are all feathered ranunculus (or ranunculi?) too. So I have now seen 4 feathered ranunculus this Autumn and have yet to see a brindled green, a far more common moth!

The first feathered ranunculus I found in my back yard moth trap on 19th September

The second feathered ranunculus at Wembury on 14th October
Number 3 at Wembury on 14th October - with quite a pinky flush

The 4th (or 2nd) Feathered Ranunculus I found at Wembury on 22nd October - check out those antenna which makes it a male

Number 5 (or number 3) at Wembury on 22nd October - with quite a pinky flush

A faded Number 6 (or 4) at Bude on 23rd October
The 2 I found at Wembury on the 14th October in the toilet block are probably the same 2 I found on the 22nd October based on their colouration. I didn't have any pots with me on the 14th as I would have caught and released them outside but I did have pots with me on the 22nd when I did manage to catch them and release them.

However the moth surprise of this posts title is not the above but a surprise find in the toilet block at Wembury on the 26th October, a nice smart vestal moth. I saw these moths on my Spanish holiday in Granada and Algeciras but have never seen one in the UK before. I guess the strong Southerly winds we had over the weekend may have brought it over from the Continent but it was a nice find.

Vestal - with very feathery antenna


It was difficult to photo as it was a little feisty, eventually flying out through the door and lost from sight but it was a nice end to my mothing Summer as I am unlikely to see much more in the way of moths now until next Spring. It also means I will have to update my moth report for Wembury before I send it off to the County Recorder!

Also seen at Wembury were a flyover female sparrowhawk, a male stonechat, brief views of a male cirl bunting and a female yellowhammer amongst the very flighty bunting flock in the sewage farm hedge and 3 rook that flew over looking beautifully irradescent purple in the strong sun-light as they tumbled together like ravens do.

We also had our last pasty and coffee of the year as the cafe is closing this coming weekend until the Christmas period so at least my waistline and bank balance can recover.

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