Tuesday, 21 February 2017

False Spring?

Yesterday the weather here at Westcott was more like April, with a queen Bombus terrestris and three male Brimstone butterflies active in warm sunshine in the garden during the morning while the overnight catch to the twin-30wt actinic trap comprised 22 moths of eight species:  Agonopterix heracliana (10, hind-wing cilia checked on the four largest examples but I don't seem to get ciliella here), Tortricodes alternella (1), Pale Brindled Beauty (3), Spring Usher (1), Dotted Border (2), Early Moth (2), Common Quaker (2) & Hebrew Character (1).  To complete the spring-like theme, a Hawthorn Shield-bug Acanthosoma haemorrhoidale, Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus humator, Smooth Newt Triturus vulgaris and numerous Ophion obscuratus ichneumon wasps also came to the light.  The previous night I'd counted 29 obscuratus, each one presumably indicating a deceased noctuid caterpillar somewhere locally.  I'm sure the weather won't last but it looks as though we have a couple more warmish nights to go yet.

Common Quaker & Hebrew Character, Westcott 20th Feb

Last night I also trapped in nearby Finemere Wood again for a few hours, with Ypsolopha ustella (1), Agonopterix heracliana (2), Acleris ferrugana/notana (3), Tortricodes alternella (145), March Moth (7), Pale Brindled Beauty (162), Small Brindled Beauty (32), Oak Beauty (3), Spring Usher (115), Dotted Border (17), Engrailed (1), Early Moth (1), Common Quaker (3), Satellite (2) & Chestnut (8) coming to the two MV traps which were run for nearly four hours from dusk.  Just over 500 moths of 15 species was much as expected and it was good to see Oak Beauty and Engrailed starting to appear as well as the Orthosias.   

Oak Beauty, Finemere Wood 20th February

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

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