Sunday, 30 March 2008

Target the Species

As a continuation of the thread regarding Oak Beauty and its status locally. I recorded a very distinctive and easy to ID micro called Esperia sulphurella. I used to record the odd individual at various places in Calderdale and Kirklees. Always in small numbers, usualy a single individual either at light or netted when out "bush tapping" for micros. It was always in mature woodland or my garden which backs directly into mature woodland. I am very interested in the invertebrates inhabiting dead wood and sulphurella feeds in soft dead wood in the larval stage. I was writing an article for the Amatuer Entomologists Bulletin on dead wood in the garden, and to help with this I built a small log pile in a shady corner of the garden and left this to rot down over a couple of years. I noticed one spring evening that the Honeysuckle in the garden was teeming with E.sulphurella with at least 30 individuals counted on several evenings over the space of two weeks and smaller numbers of up to 10 individuals for a good month or more afterwards. It was obvious that the log pile had large numbers of E.sulphurella larvae which emerged and hung around the Honeysuckle in the vicinity of the log pile. I think in that one small log pile there must have been literally dozens if not hundreds of larvea of E.sulphurella.

Now had I not been writing the article and built the log pile because of my interest I would have made the assumption that this species did occur in mature woodland but only in very small numbers. Andy C and the rest of you would look at my mapamate records and assume that it was around in Calderdale but only in small numbers, when In fact I think it is probably very common in all the mature woodlands around Calderdale. This is one reason why I am cautious about giving the status of a species in Calderdale, we simply do not know in most cases how common or uncommon a species is until at least 10/20 years have passed and we have a number of records to look through from a number of recorders in differant parts and altitudes in Calderdale.
I could list many other species in Calderdale which might be classed as common and well as scarce to illustrate the point that we should be cautious in giving a definate local status for our lepidoptera. Insects are not birds or mammals and given the right conditions can multiply massively in one or two years, record them at this time and we could get the idea that the species is very abundant when it fact it was recorded at the peak of its cycle and is normally around in much lower numbers most of the time.
I have an even more astonishing record of a Cranefly which had only been recorded around 6 or 7 times since 1970 in Yorkshire which emerged in huge numbers every spring from the same dead wood in my garden. Roy Crossley from the YNU who ID the fly for my had surveyed park Wood in the previous years and not found a single individual. My garden used to produce around 100 + individuals each spring so its was obviously common in suitable habitat and the correct time of year ! Roy had never considered the species as scarce nor as abundant but as probably under recorded which I think is the correct assumption based on the evidence from my garden.
I can list several species I think would benifit from a few recorders pooling their records and making a targetted attempt to find them in the next few years if this is of interest ? I am moving out of the area shortly but will be supply all my records to Andy C when I get the time.

Saturday, 29 March 2008

First butterfly of the year

Saw my first butterfly of 2008 this afternoon before the rain came. A small tortoiseshell in Goit fields between Hebden Bridge and Mytholmroyd.

Orange underwing

This day flying moth can be seen at this time of year associating with birch trees,1 has been seen today at callis woods Tod by Brian leesey.They are also seen regularly at Cromwell Bottom.


brownfeild sites (pre developed e.g. quarrys) are under threat of being built on. unfortunatly these are home to some of our rarest butterflys such as...

silver studded blue

dingy skipper


green hairstreak

grizzled skipper

mother shipton

six spot burnet

It is important that people raise awarness of these sites and their importance for wildlife contact the buterfly conservation trust for more details at are vist their web site thanks

Friday, 28 March 2008

Beautiful night in Hebden

Last night (27th March), the evening was fair and clear and just before the temperatures dropped to below zero and the rain set in once again, a single and beautiful 1930 Oak Beauty Biston strataria (m) visited the window next to the trap. My first ever example of this species.

Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Macro moths - Yorkshire BAP species.

These are rare local and scarce breeding species that are on the new Yorkshire BAP species list and have been recorded in Calderdale over the years -
Northern Rustic
Golden Rod Brindle
V- moth
Garden Dart
Brindled Ochre
Dusky lemon Sallow

Monday, 24 March 2008

garden Moth Scheme results for 2007

GMS 2007 Total Records per Species - the Top 20
All these species of common moth are recorded in Calderdale gardens
Code Vernacular Total Individuals
2107 Large Yellow Underwing 18189
2089 Heart and Dart 14587
2187 Common Quaker 3775
998 Light Brown Apple Moth 3759
2182 Small Quaker 3732
2190 Hebrew Character 3379
2321 Dark Arches 3110
2134 Square-spot Rustic 2913
2126 Setaceous Hebrew Character 2900
2109 Lesser Yellow Underwing 2362
2102 Flame Shoulder 2333
1713 Riband Wave 2309
1906 Brimstone Moth 2218
1293 Garden Grass-veneer 1749
1937 Willow Beauty 1530
2092 Shuttle-shaped Dart 1523
2050 Common Footman 1443
2111 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 1437
2199 Common Wainscot 1428
2188 Clouded Drab 1138

just testing

hi andy
thanks for inviting me onto this blog

Monday, 17 March 2008

Hebrew Character,Orthosia Gothica

My first of the year last night and I must say one of my favorite moths ,firstly because it signifies the start of the spring,its fantastic names(english and latin)and its brilliant markings.

Saturday, 15 March 2008

Three Species in Hebden

With no activity on the last 6 drizzly nights. Last night brought brought some excitement in the form of one each of three different species. Chestnut, Dotted Border and Satellite (Shown)

Saturday, 8 March 2008


The Garden Moth Scheme (GMS) ran successfully from 2003 to 2006 in the West Midlands Region with 50 gardens taking part across six counties. In 2007, it started to expand the scheme into a national project. It now has additional recorders across the country from the Isle of Wight to Scotland. In 2007 it had over 100 recorders and now it is hoping for another big expansion in 2008.The scheme started last night across the country and only asks for the most common species.I ran my MV all night and recorded zero as did Brian Leesey in Todmorden.Brian recorded -1 Twin spot Quaker,,3 Chestnutand 27 Satelites at wine ropes in Hallwood todmorden,I recorded 0 at my wine rope.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

A nice Plume larva to find at the moment is 1501 Platyptilia gonodactyla. This species can be found in the rootstock of Coltsfoot Tussilago farfara over winter but is now making its way up the hollow stems of the plant to feed in the flower. I noticed the first Coltsfoot in flower a couple of weeks back and this morning checked over a patch of Coltsfoot in bloom looking for signs of drooping flower heads. I cut off a few of these drooping flower heads and took them home to check for larva. I carefully split the stems and found two larva part way up the stems of two separate flowers, (not sure if they feed whilst moving up the stems?), I placed a few unopened stems and flowers in a tub with the larvae and they have both disappeared from view presumably into new stems. If you don’t wish to have the bother of rearing through some larvae, its possible to find the pupa in the flower heads that have gone to seed in a few weeks time. Look for the white seedheads on drooping stems and then GENTLY squeeze to seeds between your fingers and if occupied you can feel a small hard lump, this is the pupa. Colin Hart first posted this pupa tip some years back on UK Moths. The Image shown is borrowed from my mate Ian Kimbers website