Saturday, 22 June 2013

Getting busy in Oxfordshire

The last few days, and especially the night of the 19th, have been quite time-consuming in terms of going through catches, checking IDs (and taking photos where necessary) and getting help with identification. The night of the 19th was more or less a perfect mothing storm: muggy and still, and accordingly they showed up in numbers: 114 individuals of 44 species, which I think is a record for our garden. Thirteen of those species were new for the year, and eight new to the garden. Catches since then have been less spectacular, but not lacking in interest, with a number of gorgeous moths showing up, including Middle-barred Minor and Varied Coronet. We're still waiting for some really spectacular hawkmoths (Eyed would be good, but failing that, we've never yet had Elephant or Small Elephant), but things do seem to have taken off a little over the last week - although, like others, I have the impression that overall numbers are low.

Clouded Brindle, 19th June

Green Pug, 19th June
Middle-barred Minor, 20th June
Pandemis cerasana, 21st June
Varied Coronet, 21st June

Silver-ground Carpet, 19th June

Perhaps the best discovery we've made over the past few days, though, was that a trio of unassuming-looking micros we recorded for the 18th (we had one on the 19th, too), Telechrysis tripuncta, seem to have been not only the first record of that species in the region this year, but also the first ever in Oxfordshire (looking at the relevant map in the Sterling and Parsons Field Guide to micro-moths, this appears to be accurate, as the Oxfordshire area looks to be a blank for the species).

Telechrysis tripuncta, 18th June
My son, Xander, was suitably impressed when told this, and has continued to be assiduously helpful in going through catches every morning (though I think he's really holding out for one of those really big hawkmoths we're going to get one of these days).

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