Wednesday, 13 November 2013
Saturday, 2 November 2013
Thursday, 10 October 2013
These two moths were seen for the first time in Hammerwich on October 5th. Each moth is around 15mm long and they have a streak which can be either vivid pink on a lemon yellow background or in this case leaden brown on a straw-yellow background. The colour depends on the temperature experienced by the pupa.
It is usually seen in late autumn, but sometimes appears in late spring. They migrate to UK from other parts of Europe or even North Africa. They do not breed in the UK, but it can only be a matter of time before this is recorded.
Other exotic migrants have also been recorded along southern counties with names like rosy underwing, crimson speckled, death’s head hawkmoth and the rare Clifden nonpareil. It is now thought this last moth is the latest to establish a breeding colony and so become resident. There have been reports of the four-spotted footman moth at Wolverhampton and Keele and this is both a migrant and is also breeding in the south west.
Several members mentioned the appearance of distorted acorns at the wildlife meeting in early October. This is the Knopper Gall and it is caused by a tiny gall wasp, Andricus quercuscalicis. The wasp and gall can affect a high proportion of acorns in one year, and almost none the next. It only affects the pedunculate oak and in August they appear as sticky, red growths which later turn woody and brown. It is thought unlikely that the gall will pose any threat to the future of the oak, since most acorns are destined to be food for animals and never form trees. A second generation of the wasp must develop in the catkins of Turkey oak to complete the life cycle.
The Knopper is a recent introduction to the British Isles and first arrived in the 1960s. It is now found throughout England and Wales and reached Scotland in 2007.
Saturday, 5 October 2013
The common darter is a large “darter” dragonfly, but is smaller than many other types of dragonflies. The female dragonfly is on the left and the reddish male on the right.
It is found across most of Europe and is seen alongside canals, slow rivers and lakes between June and November.
They are often seen at rest waiting for prey to fly by and then they dart and capture. However, there are occasions when they appear together in large numbers.
The female drops clumps of eggs into the water from the air.
Monday, 19 August 2013
Cnephasia genitalana was seen on 13th August and again on 14th. It was verified by Mike Dale. This micro moth is known from southern and eastern counties of England and a few locations in south Wales. Why it turns up in Hammerwich is difficult to answer, but it could easily be overlooked or mis-identified by moth enthusiasts. There are three moths of very similar appearance. Its food plant is ragwort and buttercup and there is plenty in the parish. Another sort of treasure!
Cochylidia implicitana was trapped on August 10th, but it has taken a time to verify this moth. It is its first appearance in Staffordshire and is not known in the Midlands. Sightings have generally been near the south east coastal counties. It could well be a moth whose distribution is moving north and west.