Friday, 10 March 2017

Small Quaker numbers building

On the 8th (Wednesday) I ran two MV lights in Finemere Wood, Bucks and got 106 Small Quakers between them, while last night (Thursday) the same two lights in Bernwood Forest, Bucks caught 211 Small Quakers.  However there's no sign of Common Quaker numbers, or any of the other Orthosia species for that matter, building in local woodland yet.  Last night's collection from Bernwood included Red Chestnut, Twin-spotted Quaker and Early Grey which were my first sightings of the year, while numbers of Yellow Horned (23) and Small Brindled Beauty (47) seem to have passed their peak now.  One Small Brindled Beauty came a cropper on the sheet while my back was turned, most of it being consumed by a visiting example of the ground beetle Carabus nemoralis.  These large carabids (problematicus as well as nemoralis) are regular sightings in Bernwood but they usually disappear under the sheet to get away from the light.  This one must have been rather more brave (or hungrier) than usual!

Red Chestnut, Bernwood Forest 9th March

Carabus nemoralis eating dinner, Bernwood Forest 9th March

Back home at Westcott, last night's actinic trap performed quite well, bringing in 37 moths of 11 species.  New for the year's garden list were Diurnea fagella, Agonopterix ocellana and Engrailed.

Agonopterix ocellana, Westcott 9th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks


  1. Hi Dave Interesting that you see Carabus problematicus in Bernwood as its usually regarded as more of a heathland species. You don't mention violaceous, which can look very much like problematicus, is much less habitat-specific and along with nemoralis is much more frequent. Presumably you see those in Bernwood as well?

  2. Hi Martin, I'm no expert on beetles! However, using Mark Telfer's guide to separating these three large carabids, I personally haven't positively identified violaceus in Bernwood and on the rare occasions when I've paid them sufficient attention they've nearly always been nemoralis. I'm sure you're right that violaceus will be there (I've even had it in the garden here), but the candidate that I brought home once to check from Bernwood turned out to be problematicus which I've also had in Rushbeds Wood as well as at perhaps more likely places such as Grangelands and Rammamere Heath.

  3. Thanks - I've never seen problematicus in this part of the world but clearly its around and I shall have to keep my eyes open for it, having only ever seen it for certain in Scotland.


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