Monday, April 15, 2013

TQ6410: Mothwards and upwards

A week or two back I rashly predicted that the weather would be on the up and spring finally underway by  ..... er ..... last Friday! Well, I was sort of correct (just two days early). Saw my first Swallows on Pevensey Levels on Thursday and by Friday, singing Blackcaps were back on the plot (a whole 12 days later than 2012) and Lady's Smock was finally flowering by the barn and little wildlife pond. What I've quietly brushed under the carpet is the fact that it rained half of Friday, poured down much of Saturday afternoon and evening and the temperatures were still struggling to get into double figures. Then yesterday (Sunday) it was suddenly SUMMER ...... 21C in mid-afternoon (yet barely 10-11C on Friday/Saturday in the rain) ….. three species of butterfly around the plot and ALL the birds singing away .… and about time to!  New ones for the square are still trickling in thankfully ….  Willow Warblers and Swallows yesterday ….  And more moths last night - quite a few in fact. Have had a lot of trouble with fonts randomly changing on Blogger last couple of evenings so this is a second -  correction - third attempt - no, fourth time with this posting .....

First things first - last week's mystery bee in TQ6410 and this response came from the RSPB's Osmia pilicornis expert:

"It's not Osmia pilicornis I'm afraid, but it is another early mining bee, Andrena clarkella (left). This is one of the first bees to emerge in the spring and is quite distinctive with black hairs on the head and abdomen and ginger hairs on the thorax. Osmia pilicornis does look similar to this, but is not as hairy and the ginger hairs extend onto the thorax. One way to separate Osmia from Andrena is by looking at the submarginal cells on the forewing, which you can see very well in your photo. Andrena have 3, whereas Osmia only have two .....
..... I suspect that Osmia pilicornis (left) might not be out until the end of April (or perhaps later) this year because spring has been so slow arriving. Andrena clarkella would usually be out from the beginning of March, but in many places it is only just emerging".

Well, you probably knew all this already but if you find Osmia pilicornis in your square, the RSPB's mining bee expert will be very interested .... but don't hold your breath - these bees are pretty scarce!  Anyway ......

364 - Mining Bee  Andrena clarkella   7/4 
365 - Sweat Fly  Morellia simplex  7/4

And so over the past few days .....

366 - Common Striped Woodlouse  Philoscia muscorum   11/4

367 - Meadowsweet  Filipendula ulmaria  (left) 11/4
368 - Birch Jelly Fungus  Exidia repanda  11/4
369 - Curlew  11/4   Flying over grazing meadows just north of plot.
370 - Comma Polygonia c-album basking in bramble ride on plot

371 - Common Pipistrelle  Pipistrellus pipistrellus (via the bat-detector circa 20.15 @45-47 khz along the bridleway edge)   A very distinctive ‘Pip’ on 11/4 .... and another two by the rookery wood edge last night ....  and possibly a Soprano Pip in amongst them @55mhz ?
Moths in the trap at last 11/4 .... after five blank evenings in March & early April:

372 - Common Quaker  Orthosia cerasi 
373 - Small Quaker Orthosia cruda  
374 - Twin-spotted Quaker Perigrapha munda (left)  
375 - Hebrew Character  Orthosia gothica 
376 - March Moth Alsophila aescularia 
377 - Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta 12/4 

378 - Palmate Newt  Lissotriton helveticus  12/4 (the two on the right - note webbed back feet and strange tail tips). All caught in one bottle trap yesterday.

379 - Blackcap (male and female) back at the plot on Friday eve 12/4 after six month absence

380 - Greylag Goose – pair right overhead the plot early Sat a.m. 13/4

381 - Linnet – small flock in recently harrowed arable field by the farm  13/4

382 - Early Bumble Bee  Bombus pratorum - by brambles 13/4


383 - Common Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsia (left) - in wild flower bank (spotted leaves now well established).

384 - Willow Warbler - two singing around the plot in WARM sunshine  14/4!  

385 - Swallow - four heading north over the plot yesterday afternoon.

386 - Noctule  Nyctalus noctula - one of the locals finally out of its winter slumber circa 20.30 on 14/4.   I'm assuming Noctule as the clearest 'slow hand clap' on the bat detector was down around 20khz and I'm pretty sure it wasn't the barn residents (Brown long-eared @30+mhz) ....

And a couple more moths in the trap last night 14/4: 

387 - Mottled Grey Colostygia multistrigaria  settling near - rather than in - the moth trap

388 - Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata (left) - two in the trap last night 
389 - Chestnut  Conistra vaccinii  -  several last night
390 - Brindled Pug  Eupithecia abbreviate -  just the one!

So on to 390 species ...... and still tearing my hair out with Blogger!


  1. And, for the moment at least, you've leapt into first place Mike! Seth....????

  2. It won't take him long .... I can see him even now trying to do a U-turn in his truck on the M25!

  3. Just choosing the right moment to unleash the devastating news... ;)

    1. What?! You're not retiring from the challenge are you?! :)

  4. Anyway, I was just pleased to get into the 300+ premiership briefly before Seth made a new one in the 400s...

    1. Let me guess .... he's bought a moth-trap!?