Sunday, October 27, 2013

TQ6410 - October moth and fungi fest

October’s been a surprisingly productive month on the 1KSQ front here at Herstmonceux with a steady trickle of half-decent moths and an almost endless supply of weird and wonderful fungi to try and ID. My 300th moth species since I started counting in early April 2013 finally turned up in the trap yesterday (Saturday 26th Oct) - a Dotted Chestnut - following hot on the heels of (well, 24hrs later than) species no.1080 ... Convolvulus Hawk-moth! One or two other surprises during the month too:

Vestal Rhodometra sacraria - added on 4th September but this pink one turned up earlier this month

In between all this excitement, there’s been quite a few other things I’ve added to my 1KSQ list although any new birds are still noticeable by their absence, despite the recent plague proportions of migrating Ring Ouzels nearby (well, 250-400 along the coast here at least). A similar number of Redwings flew over the plot here on the 11th … but they were already on my list back in the spring. Very frustratingly, I heard a young Peregrine calling from the top of the old redundant observatory in the Castle grounds the other day (50m outside the square), while the next day I sat on the stile near the Church (firmly inside TQ6410) only to hear a Cetti’s calling from the nearest ditch down on the Levels - also 50m the wrong side of the square. The bird tally (still) remains on 87 but I haven’t given up on the TQ6410 Barn Owl or Stonechat just yet. Anyway, without much further ado ….

1st Oct - around the workshop:
1025 - Garden Rose Tortrix Acleris variegana at the workshop kitchen window attracted to the light

2nd Oct - plot and moth-trap (upper meadow - mild, v.muggy, v.damp and 15-16C at night) :
1026 - Nursery Web Spider Pisaura mirabilis on nettles near the workshop - bit late for these?
1027 - Four-spotted Footman Lithosia quadra at least twelve (all males) in and around the moth-trap

1028 - Agonopterix yeatiana (micro-moth)
1029 - Yellow-line Quaker Agrochola macilenta
1030 - Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita

3rd Oct - around the plot:
1031 - Giant Puffball Calvatia gigantea at the end of the wild flower bank next to the workshop
1032 - Discus Snail Discus rotundatus in one of the meadow pots on the plant bench

4th Oct - moth-trap (back of workshop - mild but cooler):
1033 - Spruce Carpet Thera britannica
1034 - Red-green Carpet Chloroclysta siterata

7th - 9th Oct - moth-trap and around the square:
1035 - Satellite Eupsilia transversa
1036 - Red-line Quaker Agrochola lota
1037 - Harvestman Opilio canestrini on the workshop wall illuminated by the moth-trap
1038 - Honesty Lunaria annua seedlings starting to sprout up by the Giant Puffball although it last flowered in 2011
1039 - Charcoal Burner Russula cyanoxantha common around the woods on the edge of the Castle grounds
1040 - Brown Roll-rim Paxillus involutus seen and photo’d last week but taken me a while to ID it
1041 - Fairies’ Bonnets Coprinus disseminates in the Castle’s beech wood bordering the little bluebell (birch) wood
1042 - Psathyrella hydrophila (fungi)
1043 - Tibellus oblongus (spider)
1044 - Tipula confusa (cranefly) in the moth trap
1045 - Black Slip Wasp Pimpla rufipes (below)

1046 - Mayfly Cloeon dipterum photo’d on 22nd June and hidden away in my ‘awaiting further ID’ folder of various pics

14th Oct - around the plot and square:
1047 - Oriental Plane Platanus orientalis walked past this old tree hundreds of times but never noticed the leaves …
1048 - Meadow Waxcap Hygrocybe pratensis around the neighbouring grazing field edges
1049 - Cep or Penny Bun Boletus edulis a small one along the bridleway through the plot
1050 - Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria (below) several along the edge of the bridleway and also in the bluebell wood ‘top plot’

16th Oct - around the plot and square:
1051 - Wild Hop Humulus lupulous in one of the few stretches of old hedgerow (just down the road) I hadn’t checked
1052 - Thick-headed Fly Sicus ferrugineus mating pair photo’d (below) on broad-leaved dock on 10th July in the lower meadow and only recently ID'd ... but must admit I’m not 100% on these ...

1053 - Lesser Garden Spider Metellina segmentata

17th Oct - Fungi foray around the plot and neighbouring beech wood:
1054 - Cauliflower Fungus Sparassis crispa (below) on the edge of the rookery wood next to the plot

1055 - Common Yellow Russula Russula ochroleuca in most of the woodland locally
1056 - Honey Fungus Armillaria mellea

18th Oct - moth trap:
1057 - Grey Shoulder-knot Lithophane ornitopus lactipennis
1058 - November Moth Epirrita dilutata inundated with these this last week ....
1059 - Parsnip Moth Depressaria heraclei (micro-moth)

20th Oct - Around the square … lots of fungi but ID’s are still proving tricky:
1060 - Orange Birch Bolete Leccinum aurantiacum
1061 - Coprinus plicatilis under various hedgerows and one or two field edges
1062 - Bay Boletus Boletus badius in the little bluebell wood at the top end of the plot (fried it for lunch)
1063 - Veiled Oyster Mushroom Pleurotus dryinus growing off a beech stump near the bridleway south of the Castle
1064 - Wild Fennel Foeniculum vulgare a small bit of rabbit-grazed greenery in the parking area, unnoticed all summer

Various oak galls on the numerous re-generating pendunculate and sessile oaks in the upper meadow of the plot - in fact loads and loads of all three of these (below):
1065 - Silk Button Spangle Gall Neuroterus numismalis
1066 - Common Spangle Gall Neuroterus quercusbaccarum
1067 - Oak Apple Gall Biorhiza pallida

21st Oct – a quick, early morning (fungi) walk around the square plus the moth-trap:
1068 - Tar Spot Fungus Rhytisma acerinum very common on sycamore leaves all around the plot
1069 - Amethyst Deceiver Laccaria amethystine (below) lots in the beech woodland just south of the bridleway by the Castle.  This morning's breakfast snack  - OK but nothing special ...

1070 - Shaggy Pholiota or Shaggy Scalycap Pholiota squarrosa one clump as per 1069 location above
1071 - White Coral Fungus Clavulina cristata just off the bridleway en route to the church
1072 - Feathered Thorn Colotois pennaria two in the moth-trap in the upper meadow – warm, breezy night @16-17C
1073 - Large Wainscot Rhizedra lutosa ditto
1074 - Acleris sparsana (micro-moth) ditto

22nd Oct - around the plot:
1075 - Rusty-dot Pearl Udea ferrugalis (below) disturbed from lower meadow (near pond) late afternoon and caught in a pill-box

1076 - Brown Birch Bolete Leccinum scabrum under the silver birch by the little wildlife pond at the end of the barn

23rd Oct – moth-trap - first chilly, clear night (5-6C) for ages - switched off at 2am
1077 - Merveille du Jour Dichonia aprilina (below) and twice more since …

1078 - Cypress Carpet Thera cupressata ... and another one, two nights later …

25th Oct - moth-trap behind the barn/workshop (very mild, southerly wind, 14C switched off at 02.30am - rain):
1079 - Mottled Umber Erannis defoliaria
1080 - Convolvulus Hawk-moth Agrius convolvuli (below) first time I’ve seen this hawk-moth in the wild in the UK - last one was hovering over buddleia beside the river Lot in France, September 1995

1081 - Culiseta annulata (mosquito) in the moth-trap

26th Oct - moth-trap and around the square:
1082 - Dotted Chestnut Conistra rubiginea (below) .... 300 up!

1083 - Caloptilia stigmatella (micro-moth) flying around the kitchen this evening so assume it was from the moth-trap
1084 - Alder Spittlebug Aphrophora alni (below) also wandering around the kitchen so possibly from the moth-trap too

1085 - Common Funnel Cap Clitocybe infundibuliformis in the little glade by the wildlife pond
1086 - Grey Coral Fungus Clavulina cinerea along the bridleway between the Church and Castle
1087 - Suillus bovinus (fungi) ditto
1088 - Panaeolus rickenii (fungi) on the edge of the grazing meadow
1089 - Shaggy Inkcap Coprinus comatus (not yet opened up) next to the fallen beech tree trunk, far corner of grazing meadow next door
1090 - Sabre Wasp/Giant Ichneumon Rhyssa persuasoria (below) a formidable beast hunting on the same fallen beech trunk next to 1089 above

So now up to 1090 species .... but with only just over a month to go in TQ6410 at least!

Dipping my toes back in - SP5595ish

I have to be honest, once the big 1000 came along right at the start of August my 1k square interest really dwindled with increasing reliance on the garden trap. It seems like an age since I last actually took a walk around the square with any intent, as I've had a couple of busy months at work (which is only likely to carry on through the next few weeks) and work trips abroad. So, square bashing is definitely not top of my priority list at the moment but yesterday I did manage to create the time and enthusiasm to head out for a couple of hours. I was mainly looking for fungi and leaf-mines, and I did manage to find and add a few to the list (which I still need to update), though nothing earth shattering. It was good to be out again though, and there are a couple of areas that may come good for some better fungal surprises that I didn't get to yesterday so I will have to get back out.

Here's a couple of Shaggy Inkcaps that I found - should be clear which one is oldest ......

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Quick update of mostly moths:

1039 - Yellow Wagtail
1040 - Opsius stactogalus (leafhopper)
1041 - Sunflower
1042 - Large Ranunculus
1043 - Feathered Ranunculus
1044 - Lunar Underwing
1045 - Red Underwing
1046 - Sombre Brocade
1047 - Convolvulus Hawk-moth

1048 - Pungeleria capreolaria (gulp!)

1049 - Sallow
1050 - Blair's Shoulder-knot
1051 - Small Mottled Willow
1052 - Beautiful Gothic
1053 - Pantilius tunicatus (bug)
1054 - Black Rustic
1055 - Frosted Orange
1056 - Flame Brocade
1057 - Feathered Brindle
1058 - Merveille du Jour

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I have been a bit lazy lately, just emailing updates of my scores to Andy and not adding anything to the blog. I think this is really because after the rush of exciting species in July and August I am now restricted to just adding bits and bobs wherever I can. Even now in early October I am surprised that I am still finding a few new species when walking around my patch - SP 4993.

When my good lady decides to join me on my wanderings we tend to stay more to the roads, and this is where I found my last two new species - Cockspur (growing in the gutter of a main road through my village), and Buck's-horn Plantain (growing on the verge of the same road).  Buck's-horn Plantain is usually a seaside species, and it is another plant that has benefitted from salting of the roads to reach my Leicestershire home 100 miles from the nearest coast.

My species count for SP 4993 now stands at 1268, and although the images below contain the obligatory moth, they generally reflect the very diverse nature of what is turning up as autumn sets in.

In addition to the two plants mentioned above the images show the moth Merveille du Jour, the caddisfly Athripsodes bilineatus (taken mid July but only just identified), the weevil Apion frumentarium and the well marked parasitic wasp (and one of the few I can identify!) a female Ichneumon sarcitorius.

grahamc SP4993

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

TQ6410 - 1000 species: onwards and upwards ....

Well, it took almost nine months but I finally came to the 1KSQ party and staggered past the 1000 species target at the beginning of last week. I’d originally thought that 1000 by the end of September would be pretty good going so to get there with a week to spare was something of a relief, even if it was all a bit of an anti-climax and a distinct feeling of turning up at the party after everyone had gone home! Stuck on 999 species for 24 hours, I even trekked around the fields locally late last Sunday evening looking for the long lost TQ6410 Barn Owl but in the end had to settle for a rather underwhelming Spiny-handed Dung Fly (don't tell me it's not?) in the bramble patch on Monday morning …. and even that looked like it had taken up shaving. I also notched up my 300th ‘lep’ in the square this past week - Green-brindled Crescent was (shamelessly) my 273rd moth to go with the 27 butterfly species so far this year (Green Hairstreak and Brown Argus are still missing from the list although both were seen on the plot last year). And so after nine months of relentlessly foraging around my plot and 1km square, it’s great to think I can finally relax a bit now, do some other vital stuff, get on with some more work …. or even creosote the workshop. If I thought this square was going to be good for plants, butterflies & moths, odenata, various other invertebrates and birds (it was), then it’s certainly looking good for fungi too so I won’t be sitting on my laurels for the next couple of months. About a third of the square is wooded in some shape or form, much of it in the neighbouring Herstmonceux Castle grounds and a staggering variety of fungi have recently sprouted up all over the place (and a recent moss survey has also provided an interesting list of species for me to search out there too). The regular parasol patch in the upper meadow here has already come and gone (a bit squidgy when fried but check for fox pee first) but elsewhere around the plot – particularly in the little bluebell wood and along the bridleway and woodland edges - fungi seem to be appearing daily. So all I have to do now is ID a decent chunk of them all ….. if only!

21st Sep - around the plot, bluebell wood and in the moth-trap:
988 - Median Wasp Dolichovespula media only recently ID’d from some photos taken on 13th Aug
989 - Birch Shieldbug Elasmostethus interstinctus on a bramble leaf in the upper meadow
990 - Meadow Puffball Lycoperdon pratense several in the upper meadow
991 - The Blusher Amanita rubescens several in the little bluebell wood (silver birch)
992 - Blackish-purple Russula Russula atropurpurea under sweet chestnut near the Castle grounds
993 - Field digger-wasp Mellinus arvensis feeding on a Greenbottle on bramble plus this one (below)

994 - Chilo phragmitella (micro-moth) - below

995 - Pale Pinion Lithophane hepatica (below)

996 - Yellow-barred Brindle Acasis viretata ditto - a well-faded specimen ….
997 - Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra came to the moth-trap in the early hours of this morning
998 - Sallow Xanthia icteritia ditto
999 - Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata ditto

23rd Sep - around the plot: That eureka moment ?  
1000 - Spiny-handed Dung Fly Norellisoma spinimanum …… or is it?

1001 - Four-spotted Orb Weaver Araneus quadratus in vegetation in the lower meadow
1002 - Rhomboid Tortrix Acleris rhombana (micro-moth - below) ….. in the moth-trap

1003 - Orange Sallow Xanthia citrago …. ditto
1004 - Cranefly Tipula paludosa mating pair by the moth-trap

24th Sep - around the plot and square:
1005 - The Charcoal Burner Russula cyanoxantha along the bridleway south of the Castle
1006 - Crab Spider Xysticus cristatus Photo’d way back on 20/4 but only just ruled out Xysticus ulmi (largely absent from SE)
1007 - Cranefly Tipula oleracea frequently inside the workshop
1008 - Common Backswimmer/Water Boatman Notonecta glauca netted out of the little ditch nearby
1009 - Backswimmer/Water Boatman Notonecta baculata …. ditto (below)

1010 - Common Duckweed Lemna minor ….. ditto (and also in the pot above)

25th Sep - around the plot and in the moth trap:
1011 - Hoverfly Rhingia rostrata on the Devil’s Bit patch in the lower meadow
1012 - Spider (jumping) Sitticus pubescens on vegetation in the wild flower meadow pots
1013 - Tortoise Shieldbug Eurygaster testudinaria (below) on Devil’s Bit Scabious in the front meadow

1014 - Green-brindled Crescent Allophyes oxyacanthae (moth-trap) below

1015 - Wood Gnat Sylvicola punctatus on top of the moth trap

28th Sep - around the square:
1016 - Slippery Jack Suillus luteus (below)

29th Sep - at the plot:
1017 - Sawfly Sirex noctilio …. I think .... but not too sure if this is a wood-wasp or a sawfly?
1018 - Turnip Sawfly Athalia rosae on grasses in the meadow pots on the plant bench (below)

30th Sep - in the moth trap .... and yet more moths yesterday:
1019 - Autumnal Rustic Eugnorisma glareosa
1020 - Brick Agrochola circellaris
1021 - Barred Sallow Xanthia aurago
1022 - Beaded Chestnut Agrochola lychnidis
1023 - L-album Wainscot Mythimna l-album (below)

1024 - Dark Spectacle Abrostola triplasia  also in the moth trap Sunday night

Last but not least - a Common Pip (deceased) finally photo'd after (apparently) hitting the van windscreen just as I drove up to the plot the other week. And only last night I spent an hour watching a pair of Long-eared Bats hoovering up moths on the barn's windbreak netting - managed to (very badly) photo one ghosting up to a Large Yellow Underwing .... but on the wrong side of the netting!

So coasting along on 1024 species after nine months of 1KSQ action ....