Sunday, 26 July 2015

Waved Black - Darley Dale

Amazingly this is Simon's 6th record of the Waved Black in Darley Dale during the past 13 years. There are very few records elsewhere in the County and it appears that a colony has established itself at a wood yard close to his house sometime in the past with the original insects arriving on imported timber. 
This example is in good condition although it looked like a bird had taken a section off the tip of the left hand wing which I have Photoshopped back on.
Waved Black (c. Simon Roddis)

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Red Kite juvenile - Flash Lane

A superb juvenile Red Kite flew over Flash Lane this morning and it was in sunshine for a change. This bird will have fledged during July so it would be very interesting to know how far it has flown from its nest.
Red Kite juvenile

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Hoary Footman - Darley Dale

Simon Roddis trapped this moth a couple of evenings ago in Darley Dale. As far as I am aware this would be a first record for the county of Derbyshire so the record is only provisional at the moment. 
The identification of the footman is not straightforward as there are a number of similar species, the most likely confusion species with Hoary is the Scarce Footman (search the blog for photos) which, despite the name is regularly recorded in the area.
What struck both Simon and I when we saw the moth was the pale colouration, the slightly smaller size, compared to both Scarce and Common, and the absence of a contrasting orangey/yellow leading edge to the wing. The moth is rather worn so there is a need for caution, both in judging the colour of the upper parts and in the absence of the costal band but having caught quite a few worn Scarce Footman I have never seen one like this. 
Simon photographed the hindwing and you can see this on his Twitter site

Hoary Footman
Hoary Footman distribution c. NBN Gateway

The published distribution of the Hoary Footman on the NBN Gateway is largely coastal and restricted to the SE and SW with a scattering of records from the Welsh coast and the Lake District.
Interestingly there have been recent records from the Leicestershire & Rutland recording area where the status of Hoary Footman is given as uncommon with a comment that some prior records of Scarce Footman may have actually been Hoary.
We'll have to wait and see if the record is accepted as Hoary Footman by the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society but I'm happy to leave it labelled as such pending any decision by that Society.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Grey Heron - Chatsworth

Not done a great deal today due to the poor weather with frequent rain showers but did make a visit to Chatsworth. An adult Grey Heron, still in breeding plumage, has been present for a couple of weeks below the weir and is a little more confiding that usual and a got a nice flight shot as it flew down river despite the poor light.
Grey Heron - adult

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Sycamore and Blackneck moths

Several scarce moths trapped in the last few days including Beautiful Hook-tip, The Suspected, another Orange Footman and the dark form of the Sycamore plus Blackneck. The Sycamore is at the NW edge of its range in the Peak District so is quite a rarity for me. The Blackneck is well established at Clough Wood and on Flash Lane and appears to be extending its range in the area.
Still no migrant moths though, may be tonight?
Sycamore f.infuscata

Batia lunaris - new for the garden

A reasonable selection of moths caught over the last few days which included Batia lunaris which is new for the area for me.
Batia lunaris

Monday, 20 July 2015

Peregrine - Darley Dale

Three Peregrine were over the house earlier this evening, an adult and two juveniles. These are local birds and its good to see the juveniles on the wing. This is my only photo of a juvenile in flight this year and its great to see them from the garden. It may not be entirely coincidental that the juvenile Wood Pigeon, below, was also taken in the garden.
Peregrine - juvenile

Wood Pigeon - adult and juvenile

Interesting behaviour from this juvenile Wood Pigeon trying to get food from the adult, as soon as it could get close enough to the adult it put its wing around it so that it wasn't easy for the adult to then move away.
Wood Pigeon - adult and juvenile

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Red Kite - Rowsley

A cool start to the day with a strong NW wind but what would have been rather a quiet morning was improved significantly by another Red Kite sighting. It drifted down the valley from Beeley, circled over Rowsley then carried on down the valley on the eastern side following a similar route to the bird seen in early June.
Looks like the Curlews have left the moor now so it is much quieter up there.

Hummingbird Hawkmoth briefly in the garden early afternoon was my first for the year.
Red Kite

Friday, 17 July 2015

Barred Carpet - Via Gellia

The Barred Carpet is one of the rarest resident moths in the County and Via Gellia is one of the few places where it can be seen. I've mentioned in past posts the difficulty of catching a fresh example of the Barred Carpet but Simon caught this one earlier this week which is one of the best I've seen.
Barred Carpet 

Hobby - Beeley Moor

I've mentioned previously that the Hobby can occasionally be seen hunting over the moor, when the prey is generally the larger moths. 
This bird has already commenced the post breeding moult, having shed two inner primaries (numbers 4 and 5),which will be completed in the winter quarters in southern Africa. Given the length of the migration its a little surprising that it is undertaken with some primaries missing.
Hobby - adult

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Cloaked Carpet makes a welcome return to the garden

The first Derbyshire record of the Cloaked Carpet was as recent as 2007 at Frogatt, I caught three the following year and it was caught locally in each of the following years to 2011 but then nothing for the following three years until this fine example appeared in last night's catch.
Cloaked Carpet

Wren with flowering heather backdrop

The Bell Heather (Erica cinerea) has been in flower for a little over a week now and provides a colourful backdrop to this singing Wren. It will be a few more weeks before the moor assumes its purple cloak from the flowering Ling Heather (Calluna vulgaris). 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

A couple of micro's for the local list

Neither of these are uncommon moths but I have not posted them previously. 
The Red-barred Tortrix is common around gardens, this is a males which is smaller but more brightly coloured than the male.
Teleoides vulgella is less common, not sure how widespread it is in Derbyshire, the host plants are Hawthorn and Blackthorn, so plenty of those around.

Red-barred Tortrix, Ditula angustiorana
Teleoides vulgella 

Monday, 13 July 2015

Northern Eggar - Beeley Moor

The last of the big three (Emperor, Fox and Northern Eggar) moorland moths is on the wing now. Ken came across this female Northern Eggar yesterday evening. The moth is unusual in that some of the population have a one year cycle whilst others have a two year cycle with the larvae overwintering as a small caterpillar. This split has been noted amongst larvae from the same brood.

The Northern Eggar is a favoured food of the Hobby and in good years for the moth the Hobby can put on a fine display hunting over the moors on warm summer evenings.
Northern Eggar - female (c. Ken Smith)

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Marbled White - Clough Wood update

I had a call from Alan Stewardson yesterday who had visited Clough Wood and seen at least three but possibly five Marbled White. Although the conditions were not ideal this morning with a heavily overcast sky I went back and saw  four Marbled White in the air at the same time so four or five looks like the current estimate.

Clearly this is not a wandering individual and there are I think two possible explanations for this number at Clough Wood. Either they bred here last year and these are the off-spring or they have been deliberately released in the area.
There is no way of knowing which explanation is correct but it will be interesting to see what happens in the remaining flight period this year and if the butterfly occurs again next year.

In common with most people with an interest in wildlife I have mixed views on re-introductions. Some such as the White-tailed Eagles in Scotland and Red Kites have been highly successful in reintroducing birds to areas where they formerly bred but I am against the reintroduction of none native species. Extending the breeding range of our native butterflies is somewhere in-between. It would be great to have the Marbled White as a local breeding butterfly but a deliberate reintroduction somehow diminishes the record. I dare say that if they are still there in a few years time I won't worry too much about how they arrived!
Marbled White

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Red-necked Footman - further observations

Some interesting records of Red-necked Footman this morning on the edge of the moors. Whilst out with Roger and Ken we counted at least 10 Red-necked Footman along Flash Lane on low grasses and in flight, there must have been many more as we were not carefully searching for them.
As I have mentioned previously the Red-necked Footman although increasing in numbers is still fairly scarce in Derbyshire, see the national distribution map below and was not recorded annually prior to 2010 which is the last annual report from the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Entomological Society.
Red-necked Footman have been recorded in widespread locations in the south of the country as part of a widespread immigration of moths from the continent as far north as Northamptonshire in recent weeks but it looks more likely that these are local insects having a good breeding season rather than immigrants. 
Red-necked Footman (c.Ken Smith)
Red-necked Footman distribution c. NBN Gateway

Friday, 10 July 2015

Field Grasshopper - pink female

I returned to Clough Wood this morning to look for the Common Groundhoppers but came across this striking bright pink Field (or Meadow) Grasshopper. 
Apparently the pink colouring is due to a genetic mutation, called erythrism. It is unusual and caused by a recessive gene, similar to albino animals. Its due to a reduction of the normal pigment and over production of a red pigment. 
I never did find the Common Groundhopper as I was distracted by the Marbled White, see below.
Field Grasshopper - female showing erythrism

Marbled White butterfly - Clough Wood

The Marbled White butterfly is widespread in southern England and has been spreading northwards in recent years. It remains a rarity in Derbyshire however, although there are now one or two colonies established in the south of the County but these could be from released individuals. 
There are a handful of records each year and there have already been several so far this year but this is the first I am aware of in the Matlock/ Bakewell area.
I followed this individual for about 15 mins before waiting for it to land before deciding I better try for a flight hot for the record. It never did land for more than a second or two.
Marbled White

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Goshawk juvenile female Peak District

A recently fledged juvenile female Goshawk watches me warily from high in a Larch tree in the Peak District. 
One of Derbyshire's rarest breeding birds, only 11 nest sites were known to be occupied in 2013 according to the most recent Derbyshire Bird Report. Human persecution has been a factor in the population decline in its former stronghold in Upper Derwentdale where none were known to breed in 2013.
The combination of its rarity and reclusive habits makes the Goshawk one of the most difficult species to observe, despite its size, and these factors along with its striking plumage and late winter aerial displays make this one of the most iconic birds of our area.
Northern Goshawk - juvenile female

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Beautiful Carpet

The aptly named Beautiful Carpet is an occasional visitor to the garden trap but can be found in small numbers in deciduous woodlands such as Clough Wood but also in conifer plantations around Flash Lane. It feeds on brambles and hazel.
The only other notable moth last night was a Large Twin-spot Carpet which has become an annual visitor during the last decade.
Beautiful Carpet

Monday, 6 July 2015

Melancholy Thistle - Whitesprings

The Melancholy Thistle has a predominantly northern and north-westerly distribution in the UK with northern Derbyshire at the southern edge of its range. Several individual plants close to Whitesprings Plantation are therefore at the very southern edge of its national distribution.
Melancholy Thistle 
Distribution from Derby City Council - Flora of Derbyshire

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Garden Tiger - threat display

A number of animals give a colourful display to warn off, or distract predators. Displays are classified as deimatic, where the threat is a bluff or aposematic where the animal is genuinely distasteful. 
The Garden Tiger has an aposematic display, the body fluids are poisonous,  where it walks whilst opening and closing its wings to flash the bright hindwing colours and eye like spots. After repeating the wing flashing several times the moth generally flies away, as this one taken in the garden last night did.
Estimates vary, but the Garden Tiger moth has declined by as much as 89% in the past 30 years and is listed for further research under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. 
Locally it can still be caught in reasonable numbers in some years in areas bordering the moors but appears to be absent in others. It's an occasional visitor to my garden in Darley Dale.
Garden Tiger - threat display

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Blastodacna hellerella

New for the garden, Blastodacna hellerella, described as locally fairly common in the Butterflies and Moths of Derbyshire. It's only 6mm in length so easily overlooked.

Blastodacna hellerella

Friday, 3 July 2015

Spotted Flycatcher - Rowsley

An animal passed close to the nest of this Spotted Flycatcher, I'm not sure what it was, possibly a small cat. The Spotted Flycatcher swooped down with a chattering call and then returned to its perch where it gave the repeated high pitch seep call for several minutes after the animal had gone.
Spotted Flycatcher

Field Grasshopper- Clough Wood

I think there are only about a dozen members of the family Orthoptera, the grasshoppers and crickets recorded in Derbyshire so there are not too many to look for. 
This is the Field Grasshopper, which I initially identified as Common Groundhopper but was corrected by Roy Frost the County Orthoptera Recorder, apparently Clough Wood is a good site for the Common Groundhopper so will have to go back for another look.
Field Grasshopper

Dingy Shears

Thanks to comments from Simon and Steve Thorpe I have relabelled this correctly now as Dingy Shears, not Rustic Shoulder Knot. The Dingy Shears is a rarity in the Peak District, although Simon has caught several in the past in Darley Dale, and uncommon elsewhere in Derbyshire.
Dingy Shears

Thursday, 2 July 2015

The Miller

A nice example of the dark form of the Miller A. leporina melanocephala taken in the garden last night, which is fairly widespread in the Midlands but we do get the pale nominate form as well. For some reason the Miller hasn't appeared on the blog before although it's reasonably widespread albeit in small numbers in the dales.
Miller form melanocephala 

Mandarin youngsters

Although there are still some family parties of Mandarin with downy young along the river the majority are now full feathered and starting to gain some independence from their parents.
Mandarin juveniles

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Anania perlucidalis

This micro moth of the Pyralid family is another relatively recent incomer to the area which is expanding its range north and west from the Norfolk fens, I first caught it in 2011 but it had been recorded locally prior to that date.
The only other notable moth taken last night was the Clay Triple-lines which is now just about annual.
Anania (formerly Phylyctaenia) perlucidalis

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