Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Recent Larval Finds

I've got quite a menagerie of larvae at the moment, that I'm either trying to rear through to later instars etc to confirm ID, or just because I can and they're quite therapeutic. Here's a few, there are more!

Green-brindled Crescent, a chance find at Ketton Quarry on 07/05/2018

Feathered Thorn, swept from hawthorn at Cossington Meadows on 06/05/2018

Acrobasis advenella, inadvertently collected in hawthorn used as foodplant

Pretty sure this is an early-instar Black Arches - found on hawthorn at Ketton Quarry on 07/05/2018

Small Quaker, beaten from oak at Kinchley Lane on 19/05/2018

Purple Hairstreak, beaten from oak at Kinchley Lane on 19/05/2018 -
this one is going back before long now I know what it is.

Copper Underwing, several on elm at Kinchley Lane on 19/05/2018

Another one to confirm, but I think it's a Sprawler from Kinchley Lane on 19/05/2018

And this was one of several Mullein larvae I found today at Watermead CP North -
photographed in-situ on the foodplant.

Monday, 7 May 2018

Invert Action

I've been out and about in the sunshine over the last couple of days, and this morning in particular brought a few nice-to-see bits. Unless stated otherwise these are all from Ketton Quarry.

Green Tiger Beetle - loads out today

Woundwort Shieldbug

Grizzled Skipper

Cassida vibex

Platystomos albinus

Common Heath

Forget-me-not Shieldbug - a new one for me

Scarlet Tiger

Bishop's Mitre - Pickworth Great Wood

Micropterix calthella - Pickworth Great Wood

Cyclosa conica - Cossington Meadows, a new spider for me

Scarce Fungus Weevil

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Not Overdue - Golden-rod Pug

I had one garden record of Golden-rod Pug going way back to August 2000. I am absolutely certain that I have had others since, but given that they are often melanic in the midlands I would of ignored them. I put out my synergetic trap last night with no genuine expectation of anything much, and was not surprised when there were just two Hebrew Characters and a small dark pug. I potted up the pug with the intention of having a better look after work.

Aside from being small and dark, not really much to look at aside from it having strongly evident dark discal spots, a hint of a pale spot on the thorax and faint witnesses of pale tornal spots. As it was clearly a male, I decided to have a go at brushing away the scales and checking the abdominal plates. Male pugs have plates on the ventral surface of the 8th sternite, and the shape of some of these is distinctive enough to confirm species (though a lot look very similar on the illustrations I have).

Anyway, it turned out to be a Golden-rod Pug - some 18 years after the last record (but, again, almost certainly not 18 years since the last one in the garden!).

Golden-rod Pug

Abdominal plate, showing a quirky and deeply forked kink to the left

Monday, 23 April 2018

Ivy Muncher plus

Found this larva on a brick wall immediately adjacent to a large ivy bush in the garden. I recognised it straight away as it's one I've found here before on the same ivy bush ....

Old Lady

I've got it feeding up in a tub of ivy leaves and will rear through - with a bit of luck I can get a few shots of a pristine fresh adult.

Over the weekend I had a bit of a half-arsed attempt at recording Emperor Moth with a pheromone lure. I tried three sites on different days and times without success. Either I'm not patient enough, the lure is dead or the moth is genuinely not present (and quite possibly all three at the same time!). One of the sites was Warren Hills, one part of what little heath and billberry scrubby moor we have in the Charnwood area. Green Hairstreak was on the wing but too quick and active for a snap.

The lure is just about visible in a black net wrap on the twiggy bush

Recent bits from the garden traps include:

Least Black Arches

Brindled Beauty


Water Carpet - only fifth for garden and first since 2009

Streamer, first since 2012

Caloptilia rufipennella

Caloptilia stigmatella

Pine Beauty

I also had a great night out in the field with Adrian Russell and Graham Finch last week, at a site right in the north-west of VC55. Grange Wood is a decent sized mixed woodland, which is actually in the county of Derbyshire but just falls within the VC55 recording area (one of the historical quirks that again show how the VC boundaries have nothing to do with current political boundaries). We had a great mix of species, including a couple of full British Ticks for me - a cracking Blossom Underwing that Adrian took to photograph and this tortrix:

Pammene giganteana - third VC55 record

Also a few nice-to-see species for the year including Early-tooth Striped, Lunar Marbled Brown, Purple Thorn and a few Lead-coloured Drabs including this lead-coloured and drab one ..

Lead-coloured Drab

Monday, 16 April 2018

Late Early

A quick catch up on a few from the garden, with two 'Early' moths appearing a bit later than might be expected:

Pine Beauty, 06/04/2018

Early Grey, 13/04/2018

Shoulder Stripe, 06/04/2018

Early Thorn, 14/04/2018

Double-striped Pug, 07/04/2018

A very knackered Oak Nycteoline, 14/04/2018

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

Small Q.

Managed to get the trap out again last night - two nights in succession already in April versus five nights in total during March. More moths, but still lacking in variety and just the one NFY ....

Small Quaker