Tuesday 16 April 2024

Westcott, Bucks

In contrast to the number of new species I've been seeing in local woodland, the garden list has been progressing relatively slowly over the past two weeks.  There is often a lull in activity once the Orthosia species have begun to dwindle in number, although Clouded Drab, Powdered Quaker and Hebrew Character are still providing the bulk of each night's catch albeit in mainly single-digit counts.  New arrivals since 1st April have included the following, taking the site year-list up towards 90 species for 2024:

     (2nd)   Swallow Prominent
     (4th)    Streamer, Mullein
     (5th)    Lunar Marbled Brown, Tawny Pinion
     (6th)    Oak-tree Pug, Pebble Prominent, Great Prominent
     (8th)    Mompha subbistrigella (found indoors)
     (9th)    Muslin Moth
     (11th)  Tineola bisselliella (found indoors), White-spotted Pug
     (12th)  Incurvaria masculella
     (13th)  Grey Pine Carpet
     (14th)  Chamomile Shark
     (15th)  Chocolate-tip, Dark Sword-grass  

Incurvaria masculella, Westcott 12th April

White-spotted Pug, Westcott 11th April

Lunar Marbled Brown, Westcott 5th April

Great Prominent, Westcott 6th April

Chamomile Shark, Westcott 14th April

Mullein, Westcott 4th April

Dark Sword-grass, Westcott 15th April

Lunar Marbled Brown and Great Prominent are irregular visitors to the garden.  The appearance of a Lunar Marbled Brown one week later last year was the first to be seen here since 2009 while the Great Prominent above was the first since 2013, this despite them both being common in all the woods around here.  Mullein is a more regular visitor although can't be guaranteed every year.  However, the appearance of numerous larvae on some Great Mullein plants which sprung up in our front lawn last season meant that it was very much an expected visitor this Spring and indeed four different adults have appeared so far.  By far the best of this bunch, though, was the Chamomile Shark which is a completely new addition to the garden list (site macro number 461).  It is a species I've hoped to get here for a long time.  Its sightings appear to be quite random despite the food-plant being common locally, especially on disturbed ground such as arable field corners.

During sunnier interludes over this two-week period I've been trying a variety of pheromone lures in the garden but the only success I've had was mid-afternoon on the 14th when a single very obscurely marked tortrix turned up to the SUS lure (for Pammene suspectana).  It clearly wasn't the target species and its legs and thorax weren't "shaggy" enough to be Pammene giganteana, so it'll have to await dissection before its identity can be established.  In addition to the above, on the 13th I noticed the first very early larval webs of Yponomeuta cagnagella on our garden spindle.

Pammene species to SUS lure, Westcott 14th April

Larval web of Yponomeuta cagnagella, Westcott 13th April

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

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