Monday, August 30, 2010

Stop Press: Old Lady is 100!

The tattier of the two specimens of Old Lady I found tonight in the garden

I have been sitting with the trap tonight and just got the official 100th species for the garden, the magnificent and monstrous Old Lady. What a grand mother of moths! And surely the perfect centurion.

Juvenile Gannet

I have been saying for some time now that the juvenile plumage is my favourite Gannet plumage (though adults are good, too). When I say it, though, most people think I am nuts and that juves are brown and scruffy. But take a look at this pristine example and admire its neat rows of spots and glory in its majesty. You have to admit that when you look closely, this is a good-looking Gannet! (Or perhaps I am nuts)

Garden Lepid List: 99

Phlyctaenia coronata

Square-spot Rustic
My garden moth and butterfly list has now reached a total of 99 species, the latest additions being Phlyctaenia coronata (a distinctive, pale-spotted, rather large micro in the Pyraustinae) and Square-spot Rustic. Who wants to be number 100?

Toadflax Brocade: confirmed first for VC32

I just got back from a trip across Biscay with the family (to see whales and dolphins). More on that later. I checked my emails last night and got one from John Ward the VC32 (Northants and Peterborough) moth recorder confirming the ID of Toadflax Brocade in our garden. The VC32 moth website has the following on the Notice Board 2010 section "15 August 2010. One Toadflax Brocade C. lunula taken in a garden actinic light trap in Peterborough by Mike Weedon; photographically determined by John Ward. An unexpected moth for VC32 but nevertheless a new county record doubtless as a result of migration or vagrancy."
To quote my moth guru Brian 'The Natural' Stone: "Not often anyone gets a macro first for a VC. Nice!"
Just to remind you, this is the little fella:

Look into my eye!

Inspired by some photos I'd seen recently on the BBC website, I think, I thought I'd test out the macro capabilities of my trusty old Canon PowerShot A640 on my own iris. It is remarkable the detail it can extract for a humble compact. Not a pretty sight, I grant you, but interesting nonetheless.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mighty beetle

Anyone know what this awesome beast is? It was in the bottom of our moth trap this morning, and appears to be a sort of minuscule longhorn beetle. I would very much welcome a better ID...

[By the way, that is the tip of my index finger]

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Shaggy revisited

Digiscoped in the rain with my decent scope...

The Spectacle

This moth is one I did identify instantly. I knew it was famous for its spectacled thorax (the first thing I saw); what I didn't realise is what a handsome moth it is, to boot!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From the Archive... No. 18

Avocets bred at Maxey pits in 2008, successfully raising two chicks. This was one of them. In 2010, a pair also sat, but the chicks were gobbled up soon after hatching (according to a second hand report obtained from a not particularly reliable source, by Carrion Crows). So, here is a reminder of jollier times.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Shag at Ferry Meadows

While I was getting the moths from my trap, this morning, my friend Don Gardener was having a great time finding seabirds in Peterborough. First, he scored a fly-over Gannet and minutes later (just while I was extracting the Antler below), he called to say he thought he had a Shag at Ferry Meadows. The juvenile Shag was still there when I passed by on my way to work and back again this evening, when I took these ropey digiscoped shots through my baby-scope (an old Kowa 621, non-ED job I keep for cycling through FM, but have never digiscoped through before).
It is the first bird I have added to my local year list since the end of May!

Antler Moth

This rather beautiful moth was in the bottom of my trap this morning. My first impression was that it had a striking, pale 'antler' pattern, but was not really aware that there was a moth actually called Antler Moth! Gorgeous isn't it? And apparently rather local in VC32 (Northants and Peterborough).

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Toadflax Brocade

This small moth was in my trap this morning. At first I just thought it was a strikingly good-looking little fellow. But, it could be more significant than that. It turns out that it is a scarce migrant (resident on the south coast), rarely seen this far from the coast. Indeed, it is possibly a first for the vice-county (VC32), and I'm not sure if it has been recorded in Cambridgeshire (I will try and find out). I have sent some photos to the local (VC32) moth recorder.

Recent new garden moths

Orange Swift

Flame Shoulder

Diamond-back Moth (I think)

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pale Prominent

This is apparently a common moth, but no less cracking for that, probably the most striking species I've caught so far in the garden. Good, isn't it?
Also added to the garden list last night/this morning were Rosy Rustic and Red Twin-spot Carpet.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Moth list reaches 50

My garden list (in Peterborough) has reached 50 identified species. Only several hundred to go now... Today I added Yellow Shell and the micro Small China-mark (I think trying to ID the micros as well as the macros is going to help boost my list no end).
Here is the current garden moth list

Saturday, August 07, 2010

The ones that got away

I went to admire the moth trap last night in situ in the garden at about midnight. It was warmer and cloudier than I thought, and there was a corresponding increase in action, with lots of bugs of various kinds: shield bugs, ichneumons, ladybirds etc, plus quite a lot of moths. I noticed, though, that some were particularly good at escaping through the middle slot (which is of course where they enter). Still, I anticipated a decent haul this morning.
Come this morning, though, the trap was just about empty: no Shuttle-shaped Darts (I could see at least three in there at midnight), just one Riband Wave (there were definitely more geometrids around), no shieldbugs or beetles and hardly any moths.
This morning, then, I have modified my trap, with an extra flap on each side of 'lid', to increase the lobster-pot effect, stop the insects escaping and hopefully increase the yield.
Watch this space...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Today's garden selection

Two Large Yellow Underwings, Ruby Tiger and Knot Grass

Flounced Rustic, a garden tick (for what it's worth after a week...)

Knot Grass

Copper Underwing

Ruby Tiger

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Garden micros

Argyrotaenia ljungiana

Codling Moth

Pammene aurita, a species yet to be recorded in the garden of my guru Brian 'The Natural' Stone. Thanks to Brian for these IDs of moths caught overnight, last night.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Monday, August 02, 2010

More moths

Pebble Prominent

Willow Beauty

Cochylis hybridella

Small Ranunculus

My yields of moths have so far been rather low; but I have only been trapping in our garden for a week, so I can't expect massive drama straight away. However, just to keep the motivation up, it is great to find something tasty. Today, we had two tasty treats: Pebble Prominent, a big, furry legged thing (see post above), and a little beauty, with a lichen-like pattern which required the mighty Brian 'The Natural' Stone to confirm: Small Ranunculus. This is a decently rare moth on a national scale, though apparently Peterborough is a little bit of a hotspot for them.