"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

Sunday, 27 May 2012

The Geometrids are Starting to Appear!

I had a break from moth trapping last night but Brian woke me at the crack of dawn this morning to insist I go and look at an exciting moth on the toilet wall.

Its a Waved Umber (Menophra abruptaria) and a beautiful moth - I think even people who don't like moths very much would admire this! Its another new species for the year.

I did run the moth trap on Thursday and Friday night though - I am still not getting that many moths but at least a few different species are turning up including the dreaded pugs.

On Thursday I caught this pug - my best guess is Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata) although it could possibly be a Grey Pug?? The only pugs I can identify with any certainty are Foxglove and Lime-speck. Identification (for me anyway) is made harder by the fact that they are very active (even after a few hours chilling in the fridge - this does not harm the moths by the way) and refuse to keep still!! as can be seen from the blurred photos!

Also in the trap was a Heart and Dart (Agrotis exclamationis) - also new for this year.

I think this is a Light Brown Apple Moth - I wish the the new micro moth "bible" would hurry up and arrive. The cottony wool type stuff in the bottom of the pot is actually a spider's web - this pot was left in the garage without a lid.

But fear not, the moth came to no harm as the spider had long disappeared and here it is about to escape from the slate where I was trying to get it to pose for a photo. Micros are like pugs very lively. In fact, in my experience, the harder the moth is to identify the less likely it is to keep still! The moth has since been re-potted and released by the way.

I think this is another Common Swift (Hepialus lupulinus)

Summary of Moths Trapped Thursday 24th May

Minimum Temperature 12.8 degrees centigrade

15w Actinic Skinner Trap

Common Pug?? x 1 (would be NFY)
Shuttle-shaped Dart x 1
Heart and Dart x 1 NFY
Tachystola acroxantha x 3
Light Brown Apple Moth x 1
Common Swift x 1

Several other micros managed to escape the potting process - I am not at my best first thing in the morning!

Friday 25th May - GMS Week 13

Minimum Temperature 10.8 degrees centigrade

15w Actinic Skinner Trap

I was pleased to find one of these Scalloped Hazels in the trap - new for this year

And yet another pug - again I think Common or Grey probably the former.

It flew straight off the piece of slate and in amongst the Yorkie and Doctor Who Dalek mugs.

Summary of Moths Trapped Friday 25th May

Heart and Dart x 1
Shuttle-shaped Dart x 1
Scalloped Hazel x 1
Common Pug?? x 1

plus a handful of unidentified micros which managed to escape my pots and the waiting nearby Robin who has realised the moth trap is a potential food source.

Moth Species for 2012 = 18
(not counting the pugs!)

Any help with the pug id and corrections if my id's are wrong are, as ever, very welcome.

Blue Tit Nestling Update

The two young nestlings are doing fine - they now look like cute baby birds! I reckon there is about a week to go to fledging.


kirstallcreatures said...

Good to see the moths are starting to pick up, the Scalloped Hazel is a nice looking moth, good news about the Blue Tits, more fingers crossed for their forthcoming adventure. Linda

Ragged Robin said...

Kirstallcreatures - Many thanks Linda especially for the good wishes to the Blue Tits!

ShySongbird said...

I'm glad you are starting to see more moths, you have some great photos here. The Waved Umber is very attractive, not sure I could be persuaded out of bed at the crack of dawn though, well let's be honest, I'm pretty sure I couldn't be :-)

I'm glad you mentioned the fridge thing as that has always bothered me when I've seen it mentioned.

Good news on the nestlings :-)

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Many thanks. I didn't stay out of bed long - fast asleep again within minutes!! Night Owl me not a Morning Lark :) I was able to photo the moth (much later) as it was still there.

Glad to reassure you about the fridge thing Jan as I wouldn't put them in there if I thought they were harmed. I only leave them for a few hours in the salad drawer and it makes them more docile and lethargic for photos - when they have become a bit more lively I release them deep within a hedge in the garden.

I've just been watching the nestlings whilst having a late lunch - they both seem a similar size and had 4 food visits from parents in just over half an hour.

Toffeeapple said...

You've some lovely specimens there! I'd love to be able to see the Blue Tits.

Rohrerbot said...

It's good to be back again!!:) I'm so tired and still in my pijamas. I have to tell you that your moths this time around are stunning. What a nice collection! And I'm really glad they've come back for you to examine study and discover. While I was out of town this weekend, my helper to our grounds discovered a HUGE snake in our gardens!!! This is a total shock to me as we are in the middle of an urban city and it was in my garden!!!! We have really done a great job bringing back birds and butterflies here....but now I'm beginning to see other things....which is also good, but now makes me more cautious in the garden. Hope you are well this Monday/Tuesday!!!:)

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - I must admit I wish I could catch more of the more colourful moths - most of mine are the small brown noctuids. Although they are pretty close up with lovely markings, they are not as beautiful as the geometrids.

I will try and take another photo tomorrow of the Blue Tits - the trouble is now they are now longer pink but covered in tiny dark feathers they don't show up very well.

I am working on getting someone here to help try and put a bit of video on - we nearly succeeded last year but the clip was too long. I am hopeless technically but I will try and record some footage on the hard drive of the dvd player and then you have to burn onto a cd (I haven't a clue but husband can do this). Then I think you have to convert it into a suitable format on the computer before posting. Sorry too long a reply!!! but I will keep trying to get someone to help me.

Chris - Lovely to have you back - I hope you had a good trip wherever you went and feel less tired soon.

Glad you liked the moths - a bit more exciting this time :)

A snake in your garden - eek!!! What type was it? - hope it wasn't a rattle snake! You take care in the garden from now on!

We only have 3 snakes over here - grass snakes (non venomous and I would love to see one in the garden), adder (or viper) which is venomous but I think I've mentioned before they are believed to be extinct in Warwickshire and probably unlikely to turn up in suburbia! and the smooth snake - very rare these days and found more on heathland - its non-venomous but again not the type to come into a garden. The slow worm which looks like a snake is a legless lizard and they are found in gardens - I live in hope :)

I am very well - many thanks! (although its getting a bit too hot now for me! - I would totally melt if I lived where you do!!) and I hope you are well too. Have a lovely week :)

Ian said...

A nice selection of moths with some lovely patterns.

Ragged Robin said...

Ian - Many thanks.