Thursday, 9 October 2008

For Charlie !

Hi Charlie

As the most active field lepidopterist in Calderdale I have set a little challange for you. I found twice only the cases of 563 Coleophora argentula on Yarrow (Achillea millefolium ) in Calderdale. I found this at Cromwell Bottom and Lowfields Business Park (before they built on it) and at that time thought I had bagged a new Yorkshire record (its slowly moving north) but Harry Beaumont beat me to it by a year :-(( I am not sure if it occurs on the garden forms of Yarrow as I never found it on any I searched, but there again I only ever found it on two clumps of Yarrow in the wild. It must occur I am sure in other parts of Calderdale but as Yarrow is not exactly abundant it might take some searching for. I have found it today here on the Llyn but as Yarrow is very abundant I was not surprised at finding it. The cases can be found right through winter but I suspect many go to ground later this month to astivate.

The reason I ask for you to look for it is that sadly BOTH patches of the plant were destroyed, built on at lowfields and buried by the countryside unit at Cromwell Bottom :-((
PHOTO: Courtesy of Ben Smart


charlie streets said...

Crikey, it would be a major result if I managed to find the plant let alone any cases! It looks like all those pignutty/hemlock type plants to me - I'm just not a plant person somehow.I'll give it a go later today if the gales don't get any worse.I must admit I do find coleophorids interesting especially after the two I reared earlier this year, but have had no success at finding them since :-((

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

Hi Charlie
its just a case (pardon the pun!)of persistance in looking. The plant likes dry conditions so look down the side of walls, etc and ask Colin or perhaps Steve who have a copies of the Calderdale Plant Atlas which gives locations. To improve your plant knowledge I can recommend tagging along with a Bradford Botany Group outing, again Colin or Steve will have contact details I think ? PS Tutt will be not much use unless you know the plants as they are all given as scientific names look for a second hand copy of Collins Pocket Guide to "Wild Flowers of Britain and NW Europe" by Fitter, Fitter & Blamey, you should be able to pick up a copy for a couple of quid and its the easiest guide to use as it keeps tecno-babble to a minimum.

Despite the so called common status of many Coleophrids I have always found them to be patchy at best and distinct by absence at worst in Calderdale. The only species I would class as common (IE occuring in all suitable habitat) is C.serratella

charlie streets said...

Hi Paul,I do know quite a few plants, trees etc and I do have plenty of field guides it's just that I don't want to spend hours (like this afternoon) or days looking for plants. I'd rather look and see what plants I can identify and work out from there what to look for on them.

To be honest I think I'm a bit of a "been there done it got the t shirt merchant" I don't want to see another stigmella or phyllonorycter mine ever again, I think I've overdosed on them this year - I need a totally different direction, I quite fancy having a go at photographing the flightless "female winter moth" species mating at dusk/night in some local woodland. I'll see what Mr Tutt recommends for autumn.

Paul Talbot..aka Moffman said...

My mate Ian Smith picks a plant/tree/shrub, etc each year and tries to find every lep that utilises it and rear them through to the adult and photograph each stage. My own method is simply to see what plants are about and then look through Emmet for what occurs on them and when, and then go look for them. Its amazing how many other species you find on the the plants by looking for something else. Here on the Llyn I will really start next year by looking for species I have never seen on plants I have never seen before in Calderdale! I like leaf mining best as you find all sorts of larvae as you look over leaves for mines and you find lots of other interesting insects and galls that you might miss otherwise. Leaf Mining I find tends to slow me down a bit so I am not rushing from one plant to the next and by doing so I find far more than I would otherwise.

Some people like migrant bagging, some like light trapping, some like rearing through but thats the beauty of nature you can do what you want however you want and learn something new everyday.I only wish I had more time to spend on it rather than sitting in front of a computer or traipsing out in the rain and gales posting books :-((