Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Dark side of the Pear Tree !

Another venture into the world of Moths brought some more common moths to my attention, the moth trap was set up close to the pear tree. and the air was certainly alive with moths when I checked early evening, being a complete novice to the world of moths I anticipated a good variety of moths by the early morning hours, I could see some moths had entered the trap, lots of micro moths and a few macro moths were already settling on the egg cartons placed inside the trap.

Not so many when it comes to investigating the trap in the morning, where do they go, it's very frustrating when you see so many around the trap in the evening and very little in the trap, but, it's early days and things can only improve, hopefully.

So these are the moths that I have seen and identified, I have decided to stick with the Macro moths for the moment, being slightly easier to identify, although not hundred percent confident on all the identifications made on the moths that have entered the trap.

Quite a few Brimstone moths have been seen around the trap in the evening, up to now only two have entered the trap, an attractive species reminiscent of its day flying cousin the Brimstone Butterfly, although obviously much smaller.

Another medium sized yellow coloured moth found in the trap, although in quite a worn state but still recognisable was this Yellow Shell, Camptogramma bilineata shown below. it flies from May to August, so getting near the end of its flight period, probably explaining its very worn condition.

Yellow Shell
A couple of these pretty non-descript moth shown below have been found in the trap, apart from the beige colour the only identifying marks were the single white spot on each wing.looking through my field guide, there were two possibilities a moth called the Clay and another migrant  moth called a White-point.


Some research revealed that the Clay Moth has on its underside of the abdomen a black cheveron, something I forgot to look for the first time one of these was found in the trap. But if you know what to look for identification becomes a little easier.

These next two were easier to identify, the first, a migrant moth called the Silver Y .

The second, another easy one to identify was the Hebrew Character, another fairly common moth, like the Silver Y, this has a black mark shaped like the Hebrew letter Nun

Hebrew Character
This next one was confusing, a lot of very similar marked moths coming in a variety of colour variations, possibly a Rustic but not hundred percent sure at the moment.

Another common moth found in the trap just lately , coming in a variety of shades, shown below is the Lunar Underwing, hopefully the right identification on this one, the white veining making i.d. a little easier

The Snout, you've got to love these Moth names, and quite easy to see how it got its name, this was the second I have found in the Moth Trap this month.

Just one of these Heart and Dart moths caught so far shown below.

So many different types of Wainscot to identify, this is my first and only one so far.

So a variety of common moths being attracted to the moth trap, not as many as I expected, each new species identified is strangely quite exciting, nice to see the creatures of the night that frequent the garden unseen.
 The garden moth list so far in September:

2.Common Carpet
3.Scalloped Oak
4.Straw Underwing
5.Lesser Broad Bordered Underwing
6.Square Spot Rustic
7.Jersey Tiger
8.Copper Underwing
9.Yellow Shell
11.Emmelina Monodactyla (micro)
12.Heart & Dart
13.Silver Y
14.Brown House Moth ( micro)
15.Common Wainscot
16.Lime Speck Pug
18.Vines Rustic ?
19.Light Brown Apple Moth ( micro)
20.Hebrew Character
21.The Clay
22.The Snout
23.Lunar Underwing

Monday, 19 September 2016

Last of the Summer........ Nectar !

A late summer break on the north coast of Cornwall gave me some unexpected Butterfly action, which would probably be the last of the year, now that autumn is just around the corner.

We were staying in an old converted stone cottage on a farm in the middle of nowhere, a Buddleia still in flower on the corner of an old derelict farm building, catching the late evening sunshine had attracted a Hummingbird Hawk moth, only the second I have managed to see, I was torn between watching the Hawk moth moving from bloom to bloom or rushing back to the cottage for my camera and the chance of a photograph, unfortunately I chose the latter, and on my return the Hawk moth had moved on.

The next morning with the sun still shining I decided to check out the Buddleia, in the hope that the Hawk Moth might have returned, but no such luck,  to my amazement the small Buddleia was covered in Butterflies, amongst them not one, but five Painted Ladies, a single Red Admiral, and several Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies.

A surprise sighting of a migrant Silver Y moth also taking in some nectar gave a few photo opportunities along with a few Carder Bees.

Painted Lady & Small Tortoiseshell

Silver Y Moth

Silver Y Moth and Carder Bee sharing the " Amber Nectar"
Apparently not that surprising, as the Silver Y moth is often seen nectaring in daylight hours, still the first I have seen, apart from those captured in my moth trap.

But the star of the show was the beautiful Painted Ladies, a nice way to end the Butterfly season.

Painted Ladies

Small Tortoiseshell
It will be a longtime before I see that many Painted Ladies together, more than made up for the missed Hummingbird Hawk Moth, which is still on my "most wanted" list.

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Hawker & Hawking

Late summer on Rainham marshes and the ditches are alive with Dragonflies, to be precise, mainly  Hawkers of the Migrant variety, my Dragonfly sightings have been pretty sparse this year, apart from the Migrant Hawkers,  Brown Hawkers have been seen on occasion, but as usual, never settling long enough for a photograph, no Black Tailed Skimmers, no Emperors and certainly no Southern Hawkers, these are often being reported just not when I'm there.

Its at this time of year when the Migrant Hawkers are at their most numerous, this attracts both young and adult Hobbies, I watched two such Hobbies hawking over the marshes, they swoop down and snatch their unsuspecting prey at both high and low level, eating on the wing and then moving on to the next victim,

Photographing them is not so easy, but watching their  flying skills is pretty impressive all the same.

bad  photo of a distant  Hobby

Watching the Hawkers over the ditches is just as impressive, the Migrant Hawkers appear to stake out a particular stretch of water where they hover almost motionless, and then when a meal appears darting after them with an incredible turn of speed, fortunately they often return to the same area, this is the time when you can try your hand at a flight shot.

Nearly all my sightings appear to be of the males, in fact when I think about it, I don't think I have actually seen a female, apart from one occasion when a male and female were seen in a mating wheel a few years ago.

These were my best attempts for this year so far, even motionless still difficult to get in focus or is that just my shaky hand.