Sunday, July 30, 2006

Old Lady = new moth

Had another mothing session at the coastal site near Sheringham last night, great fun when you're with others sharing the same interest, if not a bizarre sight to those that dont- three grown men in the middle of a wood, huddled around a single light bulb, occationally jumping around with little pots muttering 'Gotcha this time you little b*%^$£^&*!' Anyway everyone got some new species with mine being Small Pheonix and an immigrant Dark Sword-grass.

Small Pheonix

Dark Sword-grass

Had quite abit to do around the garden today but did manage our first Marsh Harrier since spring, a dark juvenile quartering the fields to the west. As I was getting some step ladders from the shed I noticed a large , rather distinctive moth roosting on one of the joists, my first sighting of Old Lady (they got some great names these moths!) I have also managed to identify a moth that I caught back in the spring but has aluded me til now, a Lychnis. GYL 150

Old Lady


Saturday, July 29, 2006

Autumn on its way.....

Had a couple of brief mothing sessions during the week with new species for the garden list including Lesser Yellow-Underwing*, Rosy Rustic, Red Twin-spot Carpet*, Scarce Footman*, Oak hooktip* and Dusky Sallow*

Scarce Footman

Rosy Rustic

Oak Hooktip

Left the trap on all night last night, a fair haul this morning but not the near over whelming numbers from last weekend. Scattered among the Silver Y's, Scalloped Oaks and Common Rustic's this morning were garden ticks in the form of Purple Thorn*, Olive*, Nutmeg* and Maple Prominent* (sounds more like the ingredients for a Jamie Oliver concoction than a list of moths!) Macro moth Garden Year List 148

Maple Prominent



Purple Thorn

Thankfully this week we received some prolonged showers which not only kissed life back into the garden but brought some welcome relief to a increasingly dry looking pond. No sign of the Mallard and her youngster's, I imagine they got off safely to bigger waters but the Moorhens are still scuttling about on the far bank. Odonata (Dragonflies) are still being represented by Azure and Blue tailed Damselflies, a pair of Common Darters and a blue and green chequered Southern Hawker. With August just around the corner we will be increasingly on the look out for bird movement again and a change in habitat as the crops are harvested and the fields are ploughed bare again. Things are already starting to turn with a Golden Plover west, Hobby east and a typically glowing adult Mediterranean Gull drifting south of the village this morning. GYL 82

The Pond

High summer in Aylmerton

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Had the trap on all night last night and it was absolutely heaving this morning with moths of all shapes and sizes. The majority being Large Yellow Underwing, Common Footman and Silver Y but also ones and twos of several other species, including some new ones ...again!

Large yellow Underwing 25, Common Footman 20, Broad bordered Yellow Underwing 6, Svennson's Copper Underwing* 1, Least Yellow Underwing 1, Nut tree Tussock 1, Privet Hawkmoth 2, Yellow-tail 5, Willow Beauty* 1, Sycamore 1, Silver Y 10, Riband Wave 7, Common White Wave 3, Peppered Moth 2, Ruby Tiger 5, Dot Moth 2, Brimstone Moth 2, Dingy Footman 3, Scalloped Oak* 2, Poplar Hawkmoth 3, Pine Hawkmoth 1, Brown-eye Bright-line 2, Dark Arches 15, Clouded Border 1, Chinese Character 3, Common Wainscot 6, Swallow tailed Moth 2, Light Emerald 1, Uncertain 5, Blood-vein* 1, Elephant Hawkmoth 1, Rustic 2, Common Rustic 3, Lesser Common Rustic 2, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 1, Clouded Magpie* 1, Gothic 1, Rosy Minor* 1, Dun-bar * 1, Poplar grey 1, Large Twin-spot Carpet* 2, Garden Carpet 1, Iron Prominent 1, Swallow Prominent 1, Early Thorn 2, Ghost moth1. Macro GYL 138.

Broad bordered Yellow Underwing

Svennson's Copper Underwing

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Clouded Magpie


Friday, July 21, 2006

Feelin' Hot Hot Hot

The heat wave in Aylmerton continues unabated, with thunderstorms and some torrential downpours missing us so far, the garden is starting to wilt a bit! The wheat is also starting to be brought in so the House Sparrows are playing 'Dare' on the road after the spillage, score so far- Cars 4 - House Sparrows c 80! A couple of sightings this week of Hobby over the village are fairly typical for this time of year. The pond is looking fairly dragonfly-less at the moment but possibly due to the fact that at the best time of the day for these creatures is when I'm at work.
Had the trap on or a couple of hours last night and along with the usual suspects of previous catches were Least yellow-Underwing, Marbled Beauty (pot escape!) and a cracking Black Arches GYL 128

Black Arches

Least Yellow-Underwing

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Ol' red eyes is back

Had the moth trap on briefly last night before bed but still managed three new moths for the garden in the shape of Ruby Tiger, Lesser Common Rustic and what I think is a Lunar -spotted Pinion (if not maybe someone can put me right!)

Ruby Tiger

Lesser Common Rustic

Lunar-spotted Pinion... albeit a worn one!

A quick look on the pond this morning found a pair of Ruddy Darters at the northern end. Initially distinguished from Common by its brighter colouring and 'starved' abdomen it also sported completely black legs (Common has pale centres to the legs) The male kindly stayed faithful to a particular perch making him easier to photograph.

Ruddy Darter

Had a walk over to Felbrigg lake this afternoon, where I found what I was actually looking for this morning on the pond, about a dozen Small Red-eyed Damselflies. These little guys have had a meteoric spread in distribution since being first recorded in Essex in 1999 and seem to be steadly spreading northwards. Identified from Red eyed Damselfly in having more blue along the body segments and often a distinct short line with a dot on the thorax as shown below

Small Red-eyed Damselflies

Red eyed Damselfly for comparison

Also present around the lake were Emperor, Black-tailed Skimmer and several Narrow bordered Five-spot Burnet moths, which didn't photograph too well (didn't have my macro camera!). On the bird front a nice 'bob' of 6 Common Sandpipers and a female Mandrin were the highlights together with the last blooms of what I think is possibly Southern Marsh Orchid

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Streaker's in Aylmerton !

Had the trap on sheet mode last night 'til mid night, no lifers but three for the garden, Scarce Silver Lines, Dingy Footman and The Drinker, GYL 122. Also coming too light were Poplar, Pine, Privet and Elephant Hawkmoth plus Buff Arches, all lovely to look at.

The Drinker

The pond is starting to look a little dry now, the flags/rushes that were planted are now all well clear of the water though the Damseflies can still be seen and a Common Darter was present at lunch time.
This evening, a scan of the tops of the mature oaks along the pond from the garden produced the desired mid July result- at least six Purple Hairstreak butterflies. These small butterflies can be found at the very tops of the trees busying (too damn busy!) around, dashing between clumps. At one point there was a Benny Hill style line of five swirling around after each other! This narrative is building up to the fact that I got some crap digiscoped shots because the little beggers wouldn't keep still!
Purple Hairstreak... couldn't have got a ropier shot....

...oh yes you can!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back to Saturday

Saw the first Common buzzard since the spring Saturday morning, it was briefly soaring over Rounce's Covert (a small wood on the south west edge of the parish) before moving off west. Saturday evening had a fine mothing session at my local coastal patch near Sheringham with three other keen cohorts where we potted nearly anything that moved! The list was impressive and included plenty of new species for all concerned :
Silver ground Carpet, Common Emerald, Dingy Footman, Ghost Moth, Scalloped Shell, Buff Arches, Riband Wave, Yellow Shell, Rosy Footman, Small Fan-footed Wave, Common Footman, Double Squarespot, Green Pug, Small Angle Shades, Dark Arches, Small Rivulet, Poplar Grey, Poplar hawkmoth, Scarce Silver Lines, Drinker, Rufous Minor, Silver Y, Large yellow Underwing, Peach Blossom, Elephant Hawkmoth, Peppered Moth, Pine Hawkmoth, Snout, Single dotted Wave, Smoky Wainscote, Common Wainscote, Common Carpet, Mottled Beauty, Broad bordered Yellow Underwing, Sandy Carpet, Swallow Prominent, Brimstone Moth, Light Emerald, Bordered Sallow, Brown-line Bright-eye, Barred Yellow, Brown Silverline, Yellowtail, Bordered Pug, Light Arches, Figure of Eighty and Lesser Broad bordered Yellow Underwing phew! I 'm sure I've missed a couple on top of that lot as well!

Scarce Silver Lines

Dingy Footman

Peach Blossom

Broad bordered Yellow-Underwing

Sandy Carpet

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Too many to handle!

Have had to take a different approach to mid-week mothing as I'm struggling to keep up! The box just has too many to process properly either before or after work without a) losing half of them during the course of the day as they are still quite jumpy and manage to work they're way out of the box or b) Shutting them in the summer house, closing all the windows and doors and killing them with heat exhaustion! So this week I've been more selective by closing the catching box off and sitting it on a white sheet in the middle of the lawn for a couple of hours before bed. This way I can pick and choose which ones I want to 'pot' without trawling through lots that I don't- manageable ( Unlike S.G.E!) Tried this out on the 2nd and 4th and have added a few more new ones to the list-

Small Elephant Hawkmoth* 1
Common Emerald* 4
Cabbage Moth* 1
Yellowtail* 3
Mouse Moth* 1
Small Yellow Wave* 1
Lime Hawkmoth* 1
Rosy Footman* 1
Buff Arches* 2
Iron Prominent* 1
Barred Red* 1
Green Pug* 2
Fanfoot* 4

Macro YL 119

Small Elephant Hawkmoth....told you there was a pinker one!

Lime Hawkmoth... completes the set of 'common' hawkmoths

Rosy Footman.... very distinctive.

Buff Arches... really love the delicate markings on this one.

Common Emerald...more green moths

Iron Prominent....the prominent list is becoming!

Small Yellow looks exactly like it said on the tin!

With Aylmerton being on the edge of so called Poppyland its fitting that some have just crept along the side of our pond adding a nice splash of colour.

Sunday, July 02, 2006


Well the weather bucked the trend of fine midweeks and miserable weekends with a blistering couple of days and appreciated it was. Moths are continuing to be drawn into the garden with our lovely MV lamp! Another hatful this weekend and more ticks for the list!

Pine hawkmoth 1
Eyed Hawkmoth 1
Privet Hawkmoth 1
Elephant Hawkmoth* 2
Dot Moth* 2
Bufftip 1
Flame 8
Flame Soulder 9
Brimstone Moth 3
Rustic 3
Poplar Grey 1
Clouded Border* 1
Riband Wave 1
Clay* 1
Buff Ermine 3
C. Wainscote 6
Brown Rustic 1
Plain Golden Y 1
Light Emerald 1
Swallow tailed Moth *1
Uncertain 9
Dark Arches 1
Large Yellow Underwing 2
Brown eye White line 2
Mottled Beauty* 2
Ingrailed Clay* 2 100th macro moth for the garden this year.
Common Footman 1
Pale Prominent 1
Heart &Dart 2
White Ermine 1
Scorched Wing1
Marbled Minor 1
Double Square Spot* 5
Strawdot* 4
Heart& Club* 1
Figure of Eighty* 1
Smoky Wainscote* 1 (I think!)
106 GYL

Pine Hawkmoth probably the plainest of the Hawkmoths ...

Elephant Hawkmoth... not the plainest of hawkmoths!

Its pink, but there is one thats pinker!

Figure of Eighty... now I wonder where it got that name from?!

Swallow-tailed Moth

With today becoming increasingly warm I thought I'ld go on a Odonata hunt (Dragonflies!). Aylmerton pond provided the usual Azure and Blue tailed Damselflies, but moving a little further afield I found an excellent pond that alas appears to be on private land. No matter the scope did its work and I was able to id Emperor Dragonfly, Black tailed Skimmer, Broad bodied Chaser, Four-spotted Chaser, at least 2 Red eyed Damselflies and a whispy Banded Demoiselle.

Female Emperor Dragonfly

Red eyed Damselfly

Banded Demoiselle

Also at this site were a pair of Hobby, singing Turtle Dove and a female Mandrin Duck. I am definately going to see if I can get some official access to this wonderful little spot.