Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Hotter than July

A second successful Saturday afternoon ‘Pilning Safari’ with Andy Pym, lots of revisiting the best accessible spots (the flowery ‘traveller’s field’ and the cycle path’s ditches and verges) and the garden moth trap have, in combination, almost doubled the score since mid June. In particular the current hot weather has produced the best garden mothing for some time (2006?), albeit with some common species still in very low numbers. At least 8 garden ticks so far including three macros: Barred Red, Green Arches and True Lover’s Knot (nearest Heather probably in S Wales); plus Epermenia chaerophyllella (lifer), Acleris bergmanniana, Argyresthia retinella, Bryotropha affinis (tbc) and, last night, no less than 8 Gynnidomorpha vectisana, which feeds on sea arrow-grass (growing on the salt marshes less than 2km away as the moth flies, but a new moth for me). The vascular plant and moth totals have both now sneaked past 300. Notable amongst those moths not new for the garden was Crescent Dart - not many Glos records – one here on 6th July 2001 was the first - this year’s was on 4th July).
There must be more interest to be found in parts of the square that are unfortunately out of bounds. The M4 verges, for example, where Lepidium ruderale can be seen from one of the bridges but more interesting halophytes than Cochlearia danica are proving elusive. The main London-Swansea rail line dips into the Severn Tunnel in the square, right by the house and is no doubt responsible for some interesting garden moths. Again inaccessible though, but I must try scoping it from the train spotter's bridge for Chamerion angustifolium.
Of garden specialities Anania perlucidalis has appeared a few times this year, but still no Cream-spot Tiger for the first time in 17 years, and no European Corn-borer (usually guaranteed). I haven't quite given up on the last though.
Fly mines have been helpful in bosting the total and the bugs and hoverflies are new favourites, albeit not always easy to identify. With a bit more effort I should get to 900 by the end of the month, but then many groups will be past their peak. Here are a few recent personal highlights. Current total 879
Essex Skipper - common on verges near the White Horse pub - not noticed them before here!

Gold Spot - 2nd for the garden
Crescent Dart - first since July 2001, when it was new for Glos
Verbascum blattaria - 188 spikes in the 'flowery field'

Agapanthia villoviridescens - belter of a longhorn - well spotted Andy Pym
Eristalinus sepulcharis - 33 hoverers so far

1 comment:

  1. Well done John. I'm struggling to keep up with you now. Paul