"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Inundated with Yellow Underwings

I ran the moth trap again last Sunday night and opened it on Monday morning to discover the vast majority of the species trapped were the dreaded yellow underwings. At least 15escaped before I had chance to identify which species of yellow underwing they were although I suspect most were the Large Yellow. Once the non-escapees were potted I counted 27 large yellow. Numbers caught in the trap are peaking much later in the year than last year - I've just checked my records and my highest count last year was 46 on 21st August and second highest 33 on 14th August. Last Saturday was the highest count of this year followed by 19 on 28th August.

The most interesting looking moth - a species of carpet - managed to fly off as I was putting the lid on the pot! Although I did trap my first setaceous hebrew character of the year.

Apart from a willow beauty the rest of the species caught were various species of rustic. I am beginning to think that rustics are the hardest of groups to identify! If and, its a very big IF, my identifications are correct 3 of the rustics I caught are new species for the garden. The species are six-striped rustic, hedge rustic and square-spot rustic - I've posted photos below so if I've identified any incorrectly please let me know.

I ended up releasing 11 lbj's that were just too worn to identify. I find it hard enough to try and id ones with fairly good unworn markings! In fact, sometimes I think my moth identifications skills are getting worse not better with practice!!

Summary of moths trapped Sunday, 5th September

10.00 p.m. to dawn

Minimum Temperature 13.5 degrees centigrade

27 x Large Yellow Underwing
1 x Lesser Yellow Underwing
2 x Square-spot Rustic ? New for Garden
1 x Hedge Rustic ? New for Garden Edit - many thanks to Dean for identifying this as a Flounced Rustic
1 x Setaceous Hebrew Character New for Year
2 x Flounced Rustic
1 x Willow Beauty
1 x Six-striped Rustic ? New for Garden
1 x Common Rustic

Total number of species trapped in garden = 95 Edit 94
Total number of species trapped in garden in 2010 = 80 Edit 79
Total number of moths trapped in 2010 = 489

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Willow Beauty - actually this wasn't the individual I trapped as this flew off the minute I opened the pot to photograph it but one I found on the bathroom wall this morning and it never moved an inch all day

The next two photos are the possible Hedge Rustic
Edit - Thanks again Dean - these are photos of a Flounced Rustic

Possible Square-spot Rustic

And finally, the moth which I think is probably a Six-striped Rustic

Garden Update

Wildlife-wise the garden has been fairly quiet over the last couple of days. There are several speckled wood butterflies seen each day and I am hoping for a visit from red admirals soon as this species becomes more common in the garden usually in the autumn. Blackbirds are still enjoying the rowan berries and the usual species - blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits, house sparrows, dunnock, wood and feral pigeon, goldfinch (including seveal juveniles) and great spotted woodpeckers are visiting the feeders.


Anonymous said...

Hi RR, check your Hedge Rustics for Flounced Rustics, as that`s what i reckon they are.

Ragged Robin said...

Thanks so much Dean. Ive compared the photos again with the Townsend, Waring and Lewington book and you are right. Your help is really appreciated. Goodness only knows how many common and flounced I have misidentified as well!!!

Anonymous said...

Thankyou Caroline. I`ve been interested in moths for many a year and there`s still some tricky to identify species.
We never stop learning.