Wednesday, April 24, 2013

More sunburn...more lifers!

Another day on Epsom Common before the next work shift kicks in. Not quite as hot as yesterday, but I've definitely got my "undercoat" sorted for this summer's sun tan! Hence flying insects were again a feature, swarming micros under the oaks were all Eriocrania subpurpurella - obviously enjoying a mass emergence. A Brindled Pug and several brown lacewings were knocked from branches, the lacewings all keyed out as the same species Hemerobius humulinus. The hoverfly Eristalis pertinax was prominent at sallow blossom. I found a crazily patterned black and white jumping weevil on the sallows, no idea what it is yet! A similarly black and white zigzagged Dermestid beetle, Megatoma undata, sunning itself on a wooden post was new for me. Apparently it is often seen with Zebra Spider, also zigzag black and white patterned. Is there a connection???

Linnet was an amazingly late addition to the site yearlist. Hopefully they will stay and breed again this year, they're a scarce breeder in these parts but usually fairly frequent as flyovers in the winter months. Everything seemed ideal for a highflying raptor or two, Osprey or Hobby would be nice. Red Kite was almost a certain so I did a spot of skywatching. A female Sparrowhawk and four Buzzards (yep FOUR - new site record!) - waaaay up high, but nothing else. Ho hum, I'll keep on trying!

I did a spot of bush-whacking and sweep-netting. Plenty of tiny beetles in the blackthorn blossom but no sign of Sloe Pug larva yet. 10-spot and 24-spot Ladybirds were my first of the year. Masses of small spiders (and plenty of ticks - boo!!!) but very little I felt confident enough to have a go at. 

Plantwise I realised I've overlooked Wood Forget-me-not as a garden escape all over the place near the housing areas. Bracken is starting to come through already. When it (and the brambles) get going properly my little shortcuts through the woods will be very severely restricted, bloody stuff...

Today's additions are:
439 - Brindled Pug - 1 knocked from oak branch
440 - Bracken - sprouting through all over the place, dammit
441 - Wood Forget-me-not - naturalised around housing estates
442 - Eriocrania subpurpurella (micromoth) - mass emergence today, many seen in cop
443 - Hemerobius humulinus (lacewing) - 3 knocked from oaks (LIFER)
444 - Carabus problematicus (beetle) - 1 under a log, elytral features seen well (LIFER)
445 - Enchanter's Nightshade - growing alongside a woodland track
446 - Apple - one large tree growing by a clearing, looks very old and established
447 - Megatoma undata (beetle) - one on bare wood in full sunshine (LIFER)
448 - Linnet - 1 over, then another an hour later, possibly returning breeders - fingers crossed
449 - Eristalis pertinax (hoverfly) - commonly encountered
450 - Creeping Willow - big patch just covered in catkins at Horton Heath, only known site in TQ1960
451 - 10-spot Ladybird - beaten from Cherry Laurel
452 - 24-spot Ladybird - found in short grass whilst on a break (me, not the ladybird...)
453 - Notiophilus bigutattus (beetle) - 2 in sparsely vegetated are, later keyed out

Back to work tomorrow. The BIG news is that I'm moving house next month - AWAY from the square!!! We haven't got a move date yet, probably within a couple of weeks time though. That's gonna spoil my fun a tad :(



  1. WHAT?! Surely you can delay the sale? These things can take ages!

    Are you going far? Anywhere nice? I presume you applied the "moth-trap" test to the new place?

  2. Sale? Heck, we're only renting (still..) and don't panic - it's still in Epsom. Just means it'll take me 40mins to walk to the square rather than 3mins. I'm not happy about the extra distance, but needs must!

  3. Ah, now you see one of the under-rated values of house ownership. You'd never be gone that quickly!

    40 min walk-in, no moth-trap - you're really piling up the excuses. What next - napalm?