Tuesday, 30 September 2014

Ivy Bee

Here's my contribution to the Ivy Bee distribution map - two individuals were found on Ivy along Gypsy Lane at Broom today.  You can submit any records you have to BWARS here. And don't forget to let Alan Outen know too!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Oncocera semirubella x2

Oncocera semirubella, Luton, 21st July 2014. Only Bedfordshire's third (or perhaps fourth) record of this stunning micro moth.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Oncocera semirubella

Oncocera semirubella, Biggleswade, 21st July 2014.  Only Bedfordshires third (or perhaps fourth) record of this stunning micro moth.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Kent Black Arches

Yet another new macro-moth for the county this year - Kent Black Arches - which brings the total to five. This rather pretty moth was trapped last night (17th) at Biggleswade by Lionel Burgess, who kindly held onto to it so the county Recorders could see it this evening.

Kent Black Arches                     photo Melissa Banthorpe

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Brown Lacewing surprise

New and previously unknown to me last night was this mini-beast on the garden shed in the reflected light of my moth trap in Luton. Identified from the trusty Collins Guide and then confirmed with the recorders as a brown lacewing, species Drepanepteryx phalaenoides. I am informed this is the third VC30 record, the previous being at Heath&Reach in 1987 and Tempsford in 1991.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Chicksands Wood 3rd July 2014

At least 3, possibly 4, male Purple Emperors and a single female sucking moisture/nutrients on the main path through Chicksands Wood late morning and early afternoon. Females on the ground would appear to be a rare sight. Three photos of the female which had a small tear near the tip of the left forewing, and one of a male.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

Two interesting micro moth records from Flitwick Moor 28th June 2014

The Wildlife Trust for Beds,Cambs & Northants & The BNHS held their annual Invertebrates Day at Flitwick Moor on 28th June 2014. All was fine until it started raining just after midday which did not stop until after 3pm. As it started raining I was collecting leaf-mines from a Crab Apple in the meadow and found an interesting large Coleophoriid case that I did not recognise. On getting home I identified it as Coleophora siccifolia, a scarce species with five previous Bedfordshire records. Two of these were adults at Turvey Abbey in 2001 & The Cockayne Hatley Rothamsted trap in 2005.There are three previous larval records, two of feeding signs in N Beds in 1992 and 2005 and one larval case in 1992 in Sharnbrook. This then is the first record in 9 years and the first in the centre of the county.
The second find was whilst wandering round in the rain in the afternoon collecting leafmines for id later. One I had been looking for on Honeysuckle and happily found was Perittia obscurepunctella. The only previous record of this in the county was of an adult in a light trap at Apsley Guise in 1983.

Melissa took some nice photos of the Coleophora case and I scanned the Perittia mine, both ids have been confirmed by Beds Micro-moth Recorder David Manning.
Case of Coleophora siccifolia on Crab Apple, Flitwick Moor 28/06/2014. Photo by Melissa Banthorpe

Case of Coleophora siccifolia on Crab Apple, Flitwick Moor 28/06/2014. Photo by Melissa Banthorpe

Leafmine of Perittia obscurepunctella on Honeysuckle, Flitwick Moor 28/06/2014. Scan by Andy Banthorpe

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Cranfield Uni bioblitz bonus

Andy and I ran two MV lights for a couple of hours at Cranfield Uni last night as part of their bioblitz weekend. Prospects weren't good as it had rained during the day and it hadn't been especially warm. We didn't catch large numbers of moths, or as many species as one might expect at this time of year. However, late on we found a single Double Dart, a moth species that hasn't been seen in the county for nearly 11 years and one which we thought we would never see in the county. So was a good end to the evening.

Double Dart                                      photo Melissa Banthorpe

Friday, 13 June 2014

Of the 5 Black Hairstreaks I saw in Marston Thrift today this one obligingly came down for a brief photoshoot.

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

A rather gruesome surprise

This year I have been making a concerted effort to record more lepidoptera larvae, and in particular moth larvae. To that end I have been visiting various sites with a beating tray to collect caterpillars off a selection of trees and shrubs. So far Andy and myself have managed to find nearly 50 species and I will post photos of some of the more interesting finds later in the year.

On Sunday I beat a Grey Shoulder-knot caterpillar off oak at MVCP during a BNHS meeting. I took it home as I didn't know what it was. On Sunday evening it was fine and I photographed it.

Grey Shoulder-knot                                                   photo Melissa Banthorpe

I checked it on Monday and it was still looking ok but it hadn't eaten much. On Tuesday evening I checked it again and got a bit of a shock.

Grey Shoulder-knot with added extras                      photo Melissa Banthorpe
It was no longer moving and appeared to be stuck to the leaf with several cocoons attached to it. I've seen parasitised larvae before where there have been a few cocoons but nothing quite to this extent.

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Satin Lutestring new to Beds

A single Satin Lutestring came to MV light at Flitwick Moor last night (6th), which is a an addition to the county list. The moth was caught during a Beds Moth Group meeting at the site, which was a last-minute change of venue as we couldn't trap in Chicksands Wood, as advertised. Unfortunately, only myself and Andy got to see it as the others who had joined us for the evening had left by that point - in fairness it was found around 1am!

There is an unverified record of the species from 1934 noted in The Butterflies and Moths of Bedfordshire (1997). No specimen was seen and the date of early May was really too early to have been this, so it had not been accpeted.

Satin Lutestring                               photo: Melissa Banthorpe

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Lunar Yellow Underwing - a surprise moth in Bedfordshire

An excellent find by Robin & Fiona Wynde on Friday morning in their Potton moth trap was this Lunar Yellow Underwing, Noctua orbona. There have been reports of this in the county in the past but none of the historic records have a supporting voucher specimen so they are in doubt due to the confusion with other Yellow Underwing species. In the photos below the black sub-apical mark on the upper wing and the black crescent on the hindwing are the diagnostic features that separate this species from Large & Lesser Yellow Underwing.

Photos by Melissa Banthorpe

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Stewartby Lake sunrise

A few sunrise photos taken on the MVCP dawn chorus walk... M

Monday, 14 April 2014

Balsam Carpet - new to Bedfordshire

Mike and Marg Harrison caught this moth in their Bromham garden on 3rd April 2014. We have now seen the moth and confirmed that it is the first Bedfordshire record of Balsam Carpet Xanthorhoe biriviata. It is completely unexpected in the county as though the foodplant (Orange Balsam Impatiens capensis) is present along the River Ouse in the area, the nearest colony of the moth is probably on the Hertfordshire/Middlesex border near Watford where it is present along the river Colne. The moth flies in the afternoon and evening as well as night and can be netted around it's foodplant. It is double brooded with adults flying from late April to June and again from July to September.
Photo by Melissa Banthorpe

Monday, 31 March 2014

Scarlet Tiger moth larvae found in Bedfordshire

Scarlet Tiger moth larvae were found in Bedfordshire for the first time today (31st March 2014). These were feeding on Anchusa azurea and garden Forget-me-not in Mandy Holloway's Heath & Reach garden.
They feed on the plants above in gardens and verges and can also be found on Comfrey.
Please look for them in the county during April and early May 2014. If you find them please not numbers, what they are feeding on, date, location and send with a photograph to macromoths@bnhs.org.uk.
Over subsequent days they have been found on Comfrey at Flitwick Moor and Anchusa azurea near Potsgrove

The photo below was taken by Mandy