Friday, 26 March 2021

Westcott, Bucks

There were fewer additions to the garden year-list over the past seven nights than during the previous period but things have still kept ticking over with the following new arrivals:  Diurnea fagella (20th), Oak Nycteoline (21st) and a probable Caloptilia elongella & Pale Pinion (both 24th).  

Probable Caloptilia elongella, Westcott 24th March

Oak Nycteoline, Westcott 21st March

Pale Pinion, Westcott 24th March

The Caloptilia has been retained for dissection.  Having ruled out rufipennella based on size and the fact that the fore-tibia aren't dark chocolate-coloured, it will be either elongella or betulicola which are surprisingly difficult to tell apart as adults.  MoGBI tells us that they may be separated by the colour of the hind-legs (same as the wing colour or yellowish in elongella but noticeably white in betulicola) although you have to be quick to see those legs on a live specimen because they are usually hidden away when the moth is at rest!  On this one they were definitely not white.  However, that distinction doesn't seem to hold true on some of the photos on the website but I suppose it is just as possible for them to have made a mistake as it is for the authors of MoGBI.  Both species have appeared previously at Westcott (and were dissected to confirm) although there are no recent sightings for either of them so it will be a good record whichever it turns out to be.  C.elongella was last seen here in 2006 (there was no food-plant for it locally back then although I have since planted alder in the garden), while the birch-feeding C.betulicola was last seen in 2014.

Another species added to the garden year list as an early stage was Common Footman on the 21st, this 10mm larva being found climbing up the wall of the house.

Common Footman larva, Westcott 21st March

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks            

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