Friday, 24 September 2010

Getting Rooked

The weather forecast seems to have been all over the place for the last two days. Last night I only ran one, well protected, moth trap because the forecast was for heavy overnight rain, that never materialised and today was far better than I expected. No traps on tonight, although again it seems to have dried up and the rain symbols that were on the forecast 6 hours ago have been replaced by clouds.

I was watching a lot of Chiffchaff activity at the Farm Wood, hoping for a rarer surprise that never came, when I heard a kerfuffle overhead. At these time you hope that the raptor, that will inevitably be the cause will a) come into view and b) be something other than a Common Buzzard. I got one out of two. I came into view, accompanied by a host of corvids, that were mostly Rooks, but it was a Common Buzzard. I do like Common Buzzards, after all they've only been back in the county for a few years, but at this time of year it isn't unreasonable to hope for a more unusual passenger. I was lucky enough to tumble over a Long-eared Owl in another area, but it saw me first an I just saw it slip away and presumably settle down in another bit of cover not far away.

Although the mini Indian summer seems to have came to an end there are still a few butterflies around, although by now most are looking a bit on the tatty side, like this Comma. There are still plenty of blackberries around and many insects seem to fee on the ripe fruit when the juice becomes available.

Although most species of butterflies are coming to the end of their flight periods are are still some moths that are only just arriving for their time in the limelight as adult insects. One of the new arrivals this week was a Black Rustic. Like many of the darker moths I find that the intricate pattern shows up much better on a digital photograph than the image I see. I'm not sure why, but it looks much plainer to my naked eye. The males of this species have white hindwings that contrast strikingly with the forewings when they fly.

Another of the moths that have emerged this week is the appropriately named Autumnal Rustic. The books say they came be out in August, but the earliest date that I've caught one it Sept 21st.


Skev said...

Hi Tony. There is clearly some clinal variation in flight times up and down the UK. Up here in VC55 I have seen Autumnal Rustic in late August, but now it is more likely to be early September (just over a week later). I guess we'll start to see the slightly later appearance of some autumn species as we do with some spring species starting to appear earlier.

Tony Morris said...

Hi Skev,
It could be that my rather exposed site, compared to sheltered inland woodland sites in Kent, gives a distorted picture of overall flight times.