Garden Moth Trap, 27th May 2015

We had already put out our trap in May although we decided to put it out again to see how the species would differ between early May and late May. This is what we caught:

  • Green Carpet 2
  • Muslin Moth 1
  • Scorched Wing 1 (a scarce moth)
  • Poplar Hawk-Moth 1
  • Marbled Brown 1 (a scarce moth)
  • Pale Tussock 1
  • Scalloped Hazel 1
  • Flame Shoulder 1

Out of the 8 moth species we caught, 7 were new in May. We had caught Pale Tussock in early May. Also, we had seen a pair of Poplar Hawk-Moths mating in the summer of 2013, but this is the first time we have caught one in the trap.

The Scorched Wing is an absolutely beautiful moth. The faint lines across the fore- and hindwings give the impression of fast movement and the edges of the wings have a scorched appearance. The females are rarely seen and the males rest with the tip of the abdomen curled up, which was observed but it’s not visible in the photo. Therefore I think it’s likely that the one we caught was a male moth. My moth guide says that the UK status is ‘Local T’ which means it has only been recorded in 101-300 sites in the UK, which are spread throughout the country.

The Marbled Brown is also a ‘Local’ moth. This one is in fact less widespread than Scorched Wing because my moth guide puts it as ‘Local S,C,NW,(Ir)’ which means that the 101-300 sites are mainly focused in the south, the central regions, the north-west and less frequently in Ireland. I originally thought that this moth was an Oak Beauty, but it was re-identified as this species on iSpot here:  http://www.ispotnature.org/node/681405

And here are the photos:

Scorched Wing

Scorched Wing

Scalloped Hazel

Scalloped Hazel

Flame Shoulder

Flame Shoulder

Green Carpet

Green Carpet

Muslin Moth

Muslin Moth

Poplar Hawk-Moth

Poplar Hawk-Moth

Oak Beauty

Marbled Brown

Pale Tussock

Pale Tussock

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A Swift Surprise

Recently I have been working very hard at school as it is assessment week, but our school is nice enough to give me a bit in return. Every morning when I arrive early I have to wait on the terrace overlooking the Headmaster’s Field and Garden, all the way down to 9 Acre and beyond. Also, our school has been standing for a while so there are many nooks and crannies under the eaves. And guess what likes to nest there… House Martins in their numbers! So far this season House Martin numbers have climbed from 5-6 in the first week of term to 30+ now! It’s not just House Martins either, Swifts too! There has only been one pair around the school since a week after I first spotted one, then there were two pairs but one probably just wasn’t interested. I haven’t seen the Swifts go into a nesting site yet, but remember that they are quite late nesters. I didn’t see a single Swift last year so that’s a bonus for me, especially as I saw them as early as early May, when they were only just arriving in the county!

The Start of the 2015 Longworth Trapping Season!

15th May marked the start of my personal Longworth Trapping season (Mid-May), so the logbook now has its first entry. I caught a Bank Vole at 4:45 this afternoon and weighed it. It was a whopping 25g, the heaviest since I started last year! I tried a new method of getting the vole into the weighing bag too. I kept the vole in the bedding compartment with all the grass taken out, then I put the bag over the open end of the compartment and tipped the vole gently into the bag. I didn’t even have to try to pick it up! Here are the photos from today:

Bank Vole in the weighing bag.

Bank Vole in the weighing bag.

Bank Vole in the bedding compartment.

Bank Vole in the bedding compartment.

I was doing pre-season trapping earlier in the year, but due to the cold weather catches were scarce. There were only 1 Wood Mouse and 2 Bank Voles, the Wood Mouse pictured here:

Wood Mouse caught pre-season.

Wood Mouse caught pre-season.

Bees and Barberries: A Match Made in (Bee) Heaven!

We have a Barberry in our back garden which seems to be incredibly good for bees! I have recorded 9 bee species on it so far: Buff-tailed Bumblebee; White-tailed Bumblebee; Garden Bumblebee; Common Carder Bee; Tree Bumblebee; Early Bumblebee; Honey Bee; Yellow-legged Mining Bee and, my favourite, a Tawny Mining Bee just yesterday!

Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)

Tawny Mining Bee (Andrena fulva)

I have caught most of them (except the White-tailed Bumble and the Tawny Mining) in a specimen pot I have now christened my ‘bee pot’. I catch them by holding the lid and the pot of opposite sides of the flower, and bringing them closer together. As they get closer I tilt the pot slightly downwards so that when the bee notices that it’s about to be caught it flies down and into the pot. I then quickly close the lid and take a photo through the bottom, like so:

Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipes)

Yellow-legged Mining Bee (Andrena flavipes)