Saturday, 24 July 2010

Baildon Moor

I spent half an hour on Baildon Moor this morning watching Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Small Heaths and Small Skippers (Thymelicus sylvestris) nectaring on ragwort, thistles and tormentil.

The Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus)seemed to favour tormentil but was easier to photograph on ragwort.


I also tried to photograph some micros in the heather but only the Diamond-back Moth (Plutella xylostella) was easily identifiable.
The orange underside of the Small Skipper's antennae are just visible.It was also nice to see four Small Tortoiseshell's on one garden Buddleia and Large Whites are abundant at present.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Northern Eggar, Mompha raschkiella and Beetles

The first of my Barden Moor, Northern Eggar caterpillars has produced this male imago. I photographed it this morning and it presumably took advantage of the afternoon sunshine to zoom off back towards the moorland.

My remaining caterpillar has yet to pupate.

The second photograph shows a mine in the leaf of Rosebay Willowherb which I think was made by the larva of Mompha raschkiella.

The final picture shows five beetle larvae devouring a leaf of Rosebay Willowherb (Epilobium angustifolium).

It will be a challenge to work out which species of beetle this is!

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Butterflies and Moths this weekend!

I seem to have spent a lot of time this weekend seeking out Rosebay Willowherb (Chamerion angustifolium) in an attempt to find leafmines of Mompha raschkiella. It is Dean Stables's fault for publishing a photo on his blog! I'm also looking for Mugwort at the moment and Phyl Abbott (Plant Atlas of Mid-west Yorkshire) suggests that this often grows with Nettle and Rosebay Willowherb in unmanaged grassland.

On a nettle-patch between Jerrison Wood and Spring Wood at Esholt I saw the greatest concentration of Commas that I have ever seen in one place. There were also Red Admirals, Large Whites, Ringlets, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers.

I will try to remember to return here at the end of August to search for Comma caterpillars which I have only ever found on elm.

I could only find vacated mines on the willowherb apart from one which seems to contain several tiny beetle larvae.

I will have to keep searching the Rosebay Willowherb in the hope of finding a tenanted mine.

Stopping the car by yet another stand of Rosebay Willowherb, near Menston, I noticed this Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata).

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Meadowsweet and Field Maple

Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) has burst into flower during the last ten days.

A remarkable variety of insects can be seen plunging into the fragrant flower plumes. I found this longhorn beetle near Askwith. I think it might be Stenocorus cursor.


I was actually, rather optimistically, looking for the leafmine Stigmella ulmariae which would have been a first Yorkshire record! Perhaps I will have more luck at the end of September. I did find a few dipterous mines.
At a woodland edge, opposite the church at Denton, I opened a folded leaf of Field Maple (Acer campestre) to find a caterpillar of the tortrix moth, Acleris sparsana.
What appeared to be a French Partridge was skulking nearby, and a sizable flock of Greylag Geese (Anser anser) are resident at Denton Park.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Pandemis corylana on Alder Buckthorn

On 27th June 2010 I found a small green caterpillar in a rolled leaf on my Alder Buckthorn (Frangula alnus).
Despite suspecting it to be the ubiquitous Epiphyas postvittana, I kept the larva which soon pupated.
On the 13th July 2010 I was pleased to discover that a pristine Pandemis corylana had emerged.
Otherwise known as the Chequered Fruit-tree Tortrix, the larvae of Pandemis corylana are known to feed on a wide variety of trees and shrubs.

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Antler Moth

The Antler Moth (Cerapteryx graminis) seems to live life in the fast lane. I found a couple of larvae on Barden Moor on 21st May 2010 which were racing around the ground on a very hot day. I had presumed that they were either looking for fresh foodplants or a pupation site.
This moth emerged this morning and is photographed on Bog Myrtle where it rested for only a few minutes before flying around the garden, in broad daylight, at break-neck speed.


This Cat's-ear (Hypochoeris radicata) is a weed in my lawn but it is so bright and cheery that I have been mowing around it for the last couple of years!
Selfheal (Prunella vulgaris) is another lawn resident. I noticed this morning that you can actually buy this in the garden centre!

Saturday, 10 July 2010

The Enchanted Wood

I visited Middleton Woods, near Ilkley, this morning and discovered a plant that I have been searching for; Enchanter's-nightshade (Circaea lutetiana). It is not a particularly rare plant and grows in moister woodlands and beside shady tracksides at low altitude.

I was hoping to find leafmines of Mompha langiella but no luck this time.

There are lots of old and rotten trees here and when I last visited, ealier this year, I found nesting Great Spotted Woodpeckers (Dendrocopis major).

Saturday, 3 July 2010

Bolton Abbey Railway Station

I have been visiting Bolton Abbey Railway Station for many years and love to see the Common Blue butterflies (Polyommatus icarus) flying amongst the various species of wild orchid.

There is a fenced-off area of wildflower meadow adjacent to the car park which is home to strong colonies of both the Common Blue and the Six-Spot Burnet moth (Zygaena filipendulae).
Grasshoppers and Soldier Beetles were also much in evidence this morning.
The Shaded Broad-bar (Scotopteryx chenopodiata) was actually flying on the verge of the Burley-in-Wharfedale bypass where I stopped en route.