Sunday, 6 June 2010

It pays to look for what is missing

It was a moth trap emptying frenzy at Tophill Low on Saturday morning with four lights out through the night. They took a while to get through, credit to Doug for emptying two and scribing them on his own.

I arrived late and had the joy of emptying the centre trap. Out of practice, temperatures souring and the moths taking to the wing at the slightest movement... perhaps joy is the wrong word!!!

The traps throughout the site held a reasonable variety with 4 Eyed Hawkmoth, 2 Elephant Hawkmoth and several Poplar Hawkmoths, Scorched Wing, Small Clouded Brindle, Clouded Bordered Brindle, several Pale Tussocks, Pebble Prominents, Pale Prominents, May Highflyer for its second successive year, and the first Figure of Eighty we have trapped for a long time, to name but a few.

Pale Tussock

Pebble Prominent

Hoping for Elephant Hawkmoth pictures we did get the chance of one nice specimen but in attendance was a little girl with her dad who seemed rather interested in the bright pink and green biggest moth she had ever seen... and she had eyes like saucers when it ended up on her finger and posed before it started the whizzing of its wings as it warmed up ready for take off. I'll apologise in person to her dad if she has now requested a copy of the Skinner bible and an MV light for the back garden to trap moths... and keep the neighbours awake!

However, not in the trap but on on a thistle near where the light had been was this Alder Moth.

From records to hand, the species was first trapped in 1991/92 and last trapped in 1996 at the site... good job the eyes were working!

The best of the birds included the 'local' Buzzards drifting south over the north end of the site, singing Turtle Doves, lots of Common Terns, a few Yellow Wagtails, several Little-ringed Plovers, and a '1st summer' Little Gull... which eluded the camera!

The dragonflies season progresses with Black-tailed Skimmers now on the wing. These immatures where at the south end of the site.

The rest of the numbers were 3 Large Red Damselflies, 20+ Red-eyed Damselflies, 3 Hairy Dragonflies, 5 Broad-bodied Chasers, 41 Four-spotted Chasers with good numbers of Azure, Common Blue and Blue-tailed Damselfly.

More Broad-bodied Chaser pictures.

A Four-spotted Chaser on the wing.

Doug managed to capture this Grass Snake as it left for its day's activities.

And adding a couple of Roe Deer fawns and one or two Water Voles, a few butterflies and the hoverflies that currently await identification, plus, the Golden Bloomed Grey Longhorns in the blog below, it was a rather good day.

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