28 March, 2014

Lead-coloured Success

After Dan (a coursemate at Uni) managed to get his hands on a cheap generator, we made an impromptu visit to nearby Trench Wood to give the set-up a quick test run. Steve Whitehouse was able to join us, and three trap (2 MVs and an actinic) were set up near the entrance to the site under a decent cover of Aspen and Birch.

The weather wasn't too bad considering the past couple of days; not a wisp of wind with overcast skies till we packed up around 11pm, and the traps were soon occupied by good numbers of Quakers, Hebrew Characters and Oak Beauties. I've been in a SSMD (Severe State of Moth Deprivation) since late August last year, so it was nice to see numbers begin to return to normal. 

The highlight of the session, a male Lead-coloured Drab, couldn't have turned its arrival into more of a cliche; flying down to the bulb in the final minutes of play, just as we'd packed up the trap and were about to turn off the electrics. This rather elusive early spring species utilises Aspen as a foodplant- of which there was plenty nearby- but it was still a a bonus after only a few quick hours in the field. The evening ended with the temperate down to a chilly 2 degrees, having recorded 69 moths of 9 species: 

19 Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi 
22 Small Quaker Orthosia cruda
17 Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica
1 Lead-coloured Drab Orthosia populeti
1 Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta 
2 Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa 
1 Early Grey Xylocampa areola
5 Oak Beauty Biston strataria
1 Diurnea fagella

The 'lads'... inspecting an MV trap full of spring Orthosia

Star of the show, the male Lead-coloured Drab. A fine example too, exhibiting the curved wing apex  (which is sharper in the confusion species, Clouded Drab), and the strongly bipectinate antennae that is distinctive to the male of the species.

A close up of that superb antennae. Male Clouded Drab also has bipectinate antennae, but to such a tiny degree that the individual pectinations are barely noticable. 

This female Pheasant turned up halfway through the night, found a comfortable branch just above our heads and happily kept an eye on the moth traps whilst we sat around eating Doritos. It turns out Pheasants are actually dedicated moth-recorders... who knew?

1 comment:

Bob Bushell said...

Beautiful images of moths, and a Pheasant.