Mothing is still the worst I can remember for this time of year. Numbers are very poor and the number of species is still very low. Even so, slowly, very slowly the mix is changing and as the specifically late winter and early spring moths have disappeared the first pioneers of what should be late spring and early summer species are starting to be seen.
Vine's Rustic Hoplodrina ambigua
This Vine's Rustic from yesterday is one of a group of the genus Hoplodrina which become numerous as summer arrives. This is the second earliest date I've caught one, they normally start about a week later. Fortunately this one is quite easy to identify, it's when you get to one with the ominous name "The Uncertain" that is gets confusing.
A Pale Mottled Willow was also new for the year. The bulk of records for this moth are from July onwards.but there are always a few earlier. The most characteristic marking are the row of dots on the edge of the wing and like the Vine's Rustic is has a bright white underwing.
The tiny Least Black Arches, with a wing span of barely 1.5 cm is still classed as a macro. I only catch a few each year, this is the second this year, and last year was a blank, so it is a welcome return.
Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia
Red Twin-spot Carpets are a common moth in the garden, usually from mid May onwards. Few that I see are as pristine as this one, as they seem to fade and wear quite quickly.
Small Copper Lycaena phlaeas
Walking in South Foreland Valley today it was good to see quite a few butterflies on the wing. A few Small Coppers were in one open area. The food plants for the caterpillars include Sorrels and Docks, and the adults feed on the nectar of flowers such as fleabane and buttercups. The first generation appears in May, and with a good summer there should be three generations, and in exceptional years eve four.
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Along side the Small Coppers were several Common Blues. As their name suggests they are the most frequently seen of the blue butterflies, but as many are associated with chalk grassland we are fortunate to have Adonis, Chalkhill and Small Blue colonies in the area. Hopefully these are or soon will be on the wing in the near future.