29 November, 2016

A walk in the park

I was in Bushy Park on Sunday evening as the light began to descent below the horizon. I was hoping - far too optimistically - for a vocal Lesser Spotted Woodpecker up in the oaks, or a Yellow-legged Gull amongst the gull roost, but had to make do with Green Woodpeckers and a lone adult Lesser Black-backed Gull.

The local Grey Herons were far more obliging than I've ever seen them before. They showed little interest in the stream of families that stopped to feed the ducks, let alone me sticking a wide-angle lens in their face.

21 November, 2016

Plumed Prominent

In preparation for a moth trapping event I've organised at Sheepleas next Saturday night, I had a recce at the site back on Thursday evening. I was searching for mature Field Maples, the larval foodplant of the enigmatic Plumed Prominent. This hardy late-season scarcity has a stronghold at Sheepleas, and I'd been told that trapping underneath large trees will significantly increase chances of catching the adult moth.

By the time I'd scoped out a couple of suitable trees the light had all but faded and a windy overcast night ensued. The air temperature was still in double figures and I felt optimistic enough to grab a net out of the car and hang around the woods for a while after dusk. My reward for doing so was a spectacular male Plumed Prominent, caught as it flew low amongst the shelter of the undergrowth.


Take a gander at those antennae! 

Plumed Prominent

A good omen for the event? If you like what you see, we'll be meeting on Saturday in St. Mary's C of E car park (just off the A246) at 15:30.

18 November, 2016

Tortrix at the end of the tunnel

It's been a pretty dire year, there's no getting around it. In the aftermath of last Wednesday's happenings, I found myself desperately searching amongst the doom and gloom for positive memories to take into 2017. It took me a while, but I eventually remembered one. This has been my best year for finding moths in the family Tortricidae with 73 species racked up since April. Impressed? Didn't think so.

Pammene splendidulana - Richmond Park, 11th May

Dichrorampha sequana - Worcester, 22nd May

Epinotia subsequana/pygmaeana - Worcester, 3rd June

Celypha woodiana - Pershore, 7th June

Epinotia fraternana - Worcester, 3rd June

Lobesia reliquana - Worcester, 9th June

Commophila aeanana - Stokes Field, 10th June

Orthotaenia undulana - Wyre Forest, 13th June

Epinotia nanana - Garden, 3rd July

Apotomis lineana - Bury St. Edmunds, 27th July

Cydia amplana - 27th August

07 November, 2016

Fungal foray

A chilly but sunny walk through Esher Common failed to turn up the presumably wintering Dartford Warbler I'd seen there a few weeks ago, but it did give me a chance to start getting to grips with some autumn fruiting fungi. I've come away with a memory card full of photographs to identify, but for now I'll leave you with two of the most impressive specimens I found on my wander: the Brown Birch Bolete and Spectacular Rustgill.

 Brown Birch Bolete Leccinum scabrum

Spectacular Rustgill Gymnopilus junonius

05 November, 2016

The week in moths

The three occasions I ran the moth trap in the garden this October all yielded no moths, but a last minute decision to run the trap on a freezing Saturday night last week rewarded me with two hardy souls - an Oak Rustic and Monopis crocicapitella.

The Oak Rustic is a new species for the garden, and is still a fairly rare moth around these parts with the first Surrey record coming from Redhill as recently as November 2014.

An indescribably stunning Merveille du Jour caught on Halloween night was the 3rd record for the garden.