The Portland Naturalist

The Portland Naturalist

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Moth-er's Day

Yesterday, my activities were limited to just an evening jaunt to Ferrybridge, as the tide was rising.  No disturbance luckily, which is what I was fearing, though nothing of particular note was evident.  Ringed Plover were very conspicuous with 130 present.  Also there were 150 Dunlin (down on previous days), 11 Turnstone, 10 Sanderling, 3 Knot, 2 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull loafing on Chesil Beach, 1 distant Curlew, and a Little Egret.  I couldn't resist getting more shots of the pretty Knot.

In the evening, I went to help out Jack Oughton and his dad set up the moth traps for the National Moth Night event at Broadcroft Quarry.  Things looked promising, as there was extensive cloud cover, and a mild feel.  On the downside, we did experience a few drops of rain, and we feared we may have got drenched.  Luckily we avoided that.  The other problem was the strong wind, so we found a sheltered a spot as we could manage, to set up the traps.
The early signs were good, as every Buddleiha bush in the vicinity was covered in Silver Y, and there were a large number of Cloaked Minor flying before dusk too. 
I wouldn't say we were inundated with stuff, but it did start to get a little frantic towards the end.  We left the traps at 11 for some sleep.  On our return at dawn, we found that the generator had run out of juice, so as a result, there were very few moths sitting on the outside.  Initially, it had looked like the tight design of the funnels of the two traps had prevented many escapees, but actually, a few micros that we had noticed in the traps the night before, had now gone!
Anyway, the highlight for me were 2 Annulet - a specialty of rocky coastal localities.
Among the other Portland special macros were Crescent Dart, and this Chalk Carpet (1 of 3).

A sad lack of migrants, but, macros which went down well with the punters (turn out of about 8 people), were Peach Blossom, Drinker, Oak Eggar, and as the NMN was on the theme of Tigers, we managed 2 Garden, and a few Ruby Tiger too.
For me though, the real fascination was in the micros.  Even though I'm very much on a learning curve with these blighters, with Jack's help, I was pretty confident with the ID of most of them, some of which turned out to be pretty scarce.  Among the best ones were Scoparia subfusca, Gynnidomorpha luridana, Mecyna asinalis, plus this Agonopterix rotundella, a Wild Carrot feeder.

The best one however, was this rather unassuming-looking Acompsia schmidtiellus, which is really quite rare.

The final total was 372 moths of 81 species, not bad at all.
Later, I went on down the Bill where they'd had a very varied catch in the Obs traps.  Amongst them were the wanderers, Grass Emarald (red form).

A Twin-spotted Wainscot (shot through pot - sorry).


This was the best of the lot for me, being a lifer - Dog's Tooth.

And another wanderer from acid grassland - Antler.

I did do a little birding today.  I went on a wander down the East Weares whilst we were waiting for the punters.  Virtually nothing of note, bar a scatter of Willow Warbler
I hope it picks up soon, not least for all you birders hoping for a blog full of quality birds!

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