Thursday, 21 April 2011

Swallows and Seraphims

The unseasonably warm weather has an increase, both in the number of species and the actual number of moths in my moth traps.

Streamer (Anticlea derivata)

The patterns on some of these moths are exquisite in their design. The name Streamer comes from the black marks streaming down from the leading edges of the forewings.

Shoulder Stripe (Anticlea badiata)

The Shoulder-stripe is closely related to the Streamer and the name comes from the obvious. Since I've been mothing here (11 years) I've averaged just over one each per year, but so far this year I've caught eight Streamers and six Shoulder Stripes.

The Mullein (Shargacucullia verbasci)

The Mullein is a striking moth, it's caterpillars feed on various species of mullein (Verbascum), but in the garden they will also feed on Buddleia.

Brindled Pug (Eupithecia abbreviata)

A few days ago I caught an Oak-tree Pug that I mis-identified as a Brindled Pug. Now Brindled Pugs are arriving in unprecedented number. The number I'm recording may partly be due to the fact that I'm trying harder to sort out pugs but in the main I think it does represent a genuinely larger than usual number around at the moment.

The Seraphim (Lobophora halterata)

This one had me puzzled for a while and it's thanks to Nigel Jarman that I got it's ID sorted out. The Seraphin is quite an indistinct moth, although this one is better marked than some. It's pleasing that I'm still recording new moths for the garden. I'm up to 393 macros in the garden ad 166 micros. The micro number is almost certainly way below what it should be, many are difficult and require quite a lot of effort to do. The next seven macros could arrive this year to bring the Macro list up to the Brian Laura number.

Swallows have been passing along the cliffs in small numbers for a while. I think that most of these are moving on to sites further north. The local birds seem to arrive a bit later. This one was at West Langdon, with another bird , flying round the new "moat" there. They are a great sight in the summer, and although their numbers are reduced from earlier years, because the number of flying insects has been decimated by chemicals in our environment, there are still a good number around here, often making use of all the stables around here.

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