Anyone fancy a Chinese?

Saturday 30th July 2016.

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Chinese Character.

Another new moth for the year was a Chinese Character, thankfully still present when I looked at my box at 8.30am this morning. Yes, I had an actual lie-in this morning and I think I needed it. Up to four Garden Tigers were present in my garden of which two were in the box. A few nice moths to light up an overcast morning including a Brimstone moth and a Garden Pebble.

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Garden Tiger.

I have sent a photo to John Langmaid for clarification of possibly a new micro moth for me: a Horse-chestnut Leaf-miner. A striking little mite and noticeably a lot of damage they cause for our native Horse Chestnuts growing nearby at Highland Road Cemetery. Fingers crossed. This morning, there were a total of 43 moths of 24 species.

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Probable Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner.

Micro’s are making the news.

Friday 29th July 2016.

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Mother-of-Pearl.

Another month nears its end and I have to say that the number of Macro moths seem to be drying up? Despite warm overnight weather, there is a severe lack of numbers going on but my numbers in the garden are being supported by good numbers of Micro moths. The last few days has produced a few more year ticks although all micros: a gorgeous Meal Moth which I found this evening outside the kitchen window and a Mother-of-Pearl which I potted last night and quickly released after taking a few photos of it.

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Acleris forsskalaleana

Another moth which was new for the year was the Acrobasis advenella, which closely resembles the Acrobasis suavella. My second Garden Tiger of the year was also found this evening perched on the fence panel opposite to where the box is. Migrants included several Silver Y’s and at least one Rusty-dot Pearl. The next batch of Shuttle-shaped Darts have arrived with two more this morning. Finally, my second Tree-lichen Beauty was found yesterday morning too.

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Meal Moth.

My friend, Geoff Farwell, has had a reasonable haul of moths to his MV light which has included this week: Fan-foot, Coronet, Sycamore, Buff Arches and Herald. All moths I have not had the pleasure of this year. Grumble!

Tigers are back!

Monday 25th July 2016.

20160725_062826Three more year ticks this morning which included my first Garden Tiger actually in my garden this year. I had seen a few in Devon earlier this month, but it is always nice to get them back in my garden. I was pretty lucky in finding it as it was near the dustbin to the back of my house. Other ‘new for the years’ included Flame Shoulder and the micro moth Acrobasis suavella. There was only one tricky moth this morning and, yes, it was another micro.

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Flame Shoulder & an Azalea Leaf-miner sharing the same hole.

After yesterdays mis-ID, I thought that I would simply plumb for a Coleophora species; as most of these have to be dissected to get a true ID. The fine weather is still with us, but I have learnt that it is supposed to be cooler than last week. This morning, there was a total of 47 moths of 32 species.

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Acrobasis suavella.

My first Elephant Hawk-moth in the garden this year.

Sunday 24th July 2016.

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Elephant Hawk-moth shortly before I released it.

While pouring an orange juice, a quick glance in the garden I noticed a Sparrow hopping about close to the back door, so I hastened my pace to get out into the garden to check if there were any moths near my box. Thankfully, there were! It was overcast first thing but it was warm to say the least. The Sparrows were flying back and forth over the garden, the sound of their whirring wings clearly heard as they waited impatiently to finish checking the moth box.

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Common Carpet.

There were another four year ticks for the garden in and around the box, which included Common Carpet, Tree-lichen Beauty, Elephant Hawk-moth and actually in my downstairs loo, a Small Blood-vein! Another probable Dun-bar was present but it was a tad scruffy and yesterday, whilst watering the garden early evening, I found a Single-dotted Wave to add to the day list. John Langmaid kindly identified a couple of micros for me: Clepsis consimilana and a Swammerdania pyrella, of which the latter I was pleased about as I suggested this species to him.

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A tatty Small Blood-vein.

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Tree-lichen Beauty.

Of note, Hayling birder, Andy Johnson, confirmed that it was he who had both a Latin and a Druid moth in his moth box this week. Envious!

Butterfly fest on Old Winchester Hill.

Saturday 23rd July 2016.

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A beautiful view from a marvelous place.

I took Scruffy for a nice long walk over Old Winchester Hill this morning and with bright sunshine and the occasional large cloud drifting through and very little wind, it was to turn out to be a very pleasant walk. I arrived around 9am and was surprised to see very few cars in the car park, which boded well although I did come across quite a few people during the morning.

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Gatekeeper. My first of the year.

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Red Admiral.

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Meadow Brown.

At this time of year, birds do take a step back in the pecking order for there are lots of butterflies and insects around, especially with today’s beautiful weather; although I am always on the look out for something special. It is a good time for something unusual like a Bee-eater or White Stork passing overhead! All the usual birds were seen including at least 6 Yellowhammers holding territory, but looking like yellow jewels in the bright morning sunshine.

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A male Yellowhammer singing on top of the Hill.

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A male Greenfinch singing near the entrance to the Fort.

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A Goldfinch also by the entrance to the Fort. Plenty of flies around, too.

A flock of House Martins high over the valley were occasionally joined by a few Swallows, but raptors were near non-existent this morning with only a fly-by Kestrel and some distant calling Buzzards for company. Bullfinches were sighted fleetingly, flying over the bushes and trees and the occasional Linnet and Greenfinch were seen. A Chiffchaff was singing by the entrance gate and a Willow Warbler flew across my pathway. Several Blackcaps were heard deep within the bushes but only a female bird dared to show herself briefly.

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Six-spotted Burnet Moths were abundant.

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At least two Small Tortoiseshells were seen this morning.

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Cow Parsley growing along the footpath adjacent to the fields.

The tall grass and flowers were alive to the sound of Grasshoppers which included Meadow Grasshopper and Roesel’s Bush Crickets, but they were a bugger to photograph at times. I did find a Dark Bush Cricket (thanks Mike), which happily posed for me. More easier were the butterflies where I had at least 13 species on my walk this morning, which included Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Comma, Brimstone, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Large White & Small White, Small Skipper, Marbled White, some gorgeous Chalk-hill Blues and a probable Adonis Blue. At least two Dark-green Fritiliarys were seen, but didn’t hang around long enough to photo. Good numbers of Six-spotted Burnet Moths were on the wing and best of all, I found my first Hummingbird Hawk-moth of the year, feeding on thistle nectar along the footpath adjacent to the fields on the way back.

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Meadow Grasshopper.

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Dark Bush Cricket.

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Marbled White. The red blobs are mites.

There was a riot of colour on the Hill with a large array of wild flowers to look at with Field Scabious, Round-headed Rampion, Wild Marjoram, Wild Carrot, Rough Hawkbit, Wild Basil, Common Knapweed to name but a few plus a few spikes of Common Spotted Orchid on the slopes by the Fort. I got a but sunburnt on the arms and neck this morning, but that was my stupid fault. I met up with Dave, the old chap who looks after the place and had a nice chat with him in the car park before we left. He told me that he watched a group of 5 Red Kites soaring above his house in East Meon yesterday afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. Good on him.

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Chalkhill Blue.

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Small Skipper. Yet another butterfly with a mite.

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The squadron of planes on their way to the Solent to take part in the air display at the America’s Cup.

A squadron of small planes flew over the Hill this morning as I was making my way back to the car, though I am not sure on what type they are. Obviously making their way to the Solent to take part in the Sailing event there today.

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The Hummingbird Hawk-moth.

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I had this Hummingbird Hawk-moth on the track leading back to the car, by the fields.

Interesting bird news today included a Cattle Egret residing at Fishlake Meadows near Romsey and a few returning migrants at Titchfield Haven including Little Ringed Plover, Green Sandpiper and a Yellow Wagtail. A Western Sandpiper was seen in Southern Ireland so I suppose its time for the goodies to return. Good numbers of large Shearwaters are now going through off the Cornwall coastline also.

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The beautiful Brimstone.

A Fox and four more year ticks.

Saturday 23rd July 2016.

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Digitivalva pulicariae – a new micro moth for me.

I was up at the crack of dawn this morning (probably due to next doors dog barking!) to check the moth box nice and early and to beat the Sparrows that gorge on all my moths outside the box. A clear and warm night produced up to 55 moths of 32 species this morning and included several more new moths for the year. I didn’t put the box on the previous night as I must admit, I wanted to give the moths a chance to disperse in case I re-trap the same ones.

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This Dun-bar was resting by the box.

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A very worn Burnished Brass.

However, Wednesday morning produced a new micro moth for me: Digitivalva pulicariea, which was quite an attractive tiny moth. Thankfully, the guys on Facebook confirmed its identify for me. There was also a year tick of Common Footman, my first of this genus this year in the box.

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Spindle Ermine – another new for the year.

This morning, new macros for the year in my garden included a fresh Marbled Green, a Dun-bar and a very worn Burnished Brass. New micro moths for the year included a Spindle Ermine.

Another ‘new for the garden’ this morning was a dog Fox walking along the back wall and trying to be as quiet as possible to not being noticed. Trouble is, it disturbed all the vegetation growing nearby, which attracted my attention. The Swifts kicked off early, with ‘screaming’ birds on the wing at 4.45am!

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Marbled Green.

More good moths arrive.

Tuesday 19th July 2016.

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August Thorn.

To the sound of a male Blackcap singing in my neighbours Silver Birch tree, I carefully checked the moth box for any goodies and was rewarded with three more year ticks. An August Thorn posed a few problems with ID due to the similarities with September Thorn, but I got there in the end. A Smoky Wainscot, new for the year, posed no problems, but the July Highflyer present in one of the trays up and left before I could knock out a photo of it.

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Smoky Wainscot.

There were 27 moths of 19 species present this morning which included two Brown-tails, Ruby Tiger and migrant moths included one Diamond-back Moth and a Rusty-dot Pearl. It was the hottest day of the year today with temperatures reaching the 90’s (hotter than Greece apparently!), and with very light Southerly winds, surely some rarities will be turning up soon? My year list is over 70 species of macro moth for the garden although one chap has over 200 recorded this year alone!

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Taken on my mobile phone, you can just see the Blackcap in the middle of the photo.

Yellow Shell and Brown-tail new for the year.

Monday 18th July 2016.

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Yellow Shell.

The hot weather is continuing on the south coast as temperatures soared into the mid-eighties! And it is supposed to be even hotter tomorrow! Overnight, it must have been in the 60’s as we all faced a muggy night ahead of us, but that surely must spell good news for the moths. Of course, I put the moth box out overnight and before I retired to bed, there was my first Small Fan-foot of the year by the box, which I quickly potted. A small micro which I potted was a Diamond-back Moth.

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Head on photo of the Brown-tail Moth.

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Small Fan-foot.

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Euzophera pinguis.

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Lozotaenoides formosona.

This morning, three new moths for the year included Yellow Shell, Brown-tail and the long-named, but attractive micro moth Lozotaenoides formosona. There were 35 moths of 21 species today. On Saturday, while getting the garden ready for the BBQ, and Early Thorn flew up and landed on the back door, but too fast for me to pot.

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Young Swift looking out its nestbox opposite my house.

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A close up of the young Swift.

Very warm day today in sunny Southsea.

Sunday 17th July 2016.

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Stormy looking sky over the Cemy.

A very warm day today, despite a nice breeze, it was certainly t-shirt weather. The first ‘flying-ants’ were out this afternoon, which bodes well for all those feeding their young. Swift numbers increased rapidly as one flock must of contained at least 40+ birds. Earlier today, I took some photos of my neighbours Swift Box as one of the young Swifts was poking its head out of the nest hole.

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The flying ants are back. Very muggy today, so I wasn’t surprised to see them again.

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Plenty of Scarlet Pimpernel in bloom today.

After cleaning up the aftermath of our BBQ last night, celebrating my wife’s birthday; I took Scruff for a walk around Highland Road Cemetery. There was a ‘Friends of Highland Road Cemetery’ open day going on as I walked past, but I wanted to check out what wildlife the Cemy had to offer today. Swifts were screaming overhead as I checked out the many wild flowers and weeds that were flowering. Birds-foot Trefoil, Scarlet Pimpernel, Smooth Sow-thistle and Nipplewort to name but a few, added a splash of colour, as we walked anti clockwise around the Cemy.

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Some of the Swifts overhead.

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Red Admiral perched on a graveside.

There were quite a few butterflies around today which included both Small & Large White, Peacock and Red Admiral. Despite a lot of Buddleia in bloom, I couldn’t find one butterfly on any of the plants! A few notable birds were seen which included the male Green Woodpecker that flew up from the ground and landed in a tree by the footpath. Both Goldfinch and Greenfinch were seen and as mentioned before, there were good numbers of Swifts overhead making the most of the flying ants.

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This juvenile Robin showed nicely .

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The Green Woodpecker perched up in one of the trees.

While photographing one of the Red Admirals, a juvenile Robin showed well by one of the graves, and posed nicely for me for several seconds. Not a great deal else seen, but it was a nice slow amble around one of my favourite parts of Portsmouth. Earlier today, my friend Geoff Farwell text me this morning to say he had his first Privet Hawk-moth last night by his MV light, plus Toadflax Pug and Yellow Shell; three species I have yet to see in my garden this year.

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Birds-foot Trefoil.

White Satin Moth and 4 Ruby Tigers.

Saturday 16th July 2016.

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The White Satin Moth along with a Bright-line Brown-eye and a Lackey.

Not a bad selection of moths this morning with another three more year ticks and another year tick yesterday also to boost my year tally of macro moths in the garden to nearly 70 species. A gorgeous White Satin Moth was present within the box and up to 4 Ruby Tigers gave it a nice bit of colour. This morning, there were over 62 moths of 33 species in the box, which was probably due to mild, overcast weather overnight; although I awoke to bright sunshine with stunning wispy clouds overhead.

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The four Ruby Tigers.

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Dwarf Cream Wave from yesterday.

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My second Vapourer of the year and my first this year in my garden.

Other moths new to the year included presumed Grey Daggers (only can be reliably split from Dark Dagger by dissection), a superb Vapourer moth and yesterday, a Dwarf Cream Wave was sitting under the white sheet I put out. An Udea prunalis was potted last night and confirmed this morning and another small micro moth, Swammerdania nebulella was found within the box and quickly potted. But I shall send a photo to John Langmaid to get it confirmed, as this would be a first for me.

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A beautiful sky overhead this morning.