Hammerwich Treasure

Hammerwich Treasure
HAMMERWICH TREASURE. If you would like to receive the monthly emailed newsletter please email hamwildlife at talktalk dot net.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Pammene giganteana–now known as the early oak piercer

1227 Pammene giganteana April 2014(1)1227 Pammene giganteana April 2014

This micro-moth is on the National Scarce List B and is new to south-east Staffordshire. It was last recorded in the County in 2010. It has only ever been recorded in April for Staffordshire and this male just made it on April 1st. The larvae feed inside oak apple galls.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Hammerwich Hoard latest

An article entitled “Staffordshire Hoard was accumulated over decades” appeared in the May/June issue of “British Archaeology”.
It concluded the hoard was “the prize collection of an individual of power”. So clearly, the current measured view is that it was owned by someone who was at the level of a warrior kingship. If the bell3date of burial is now moving towards A.D.650 – 655 it points to Penda of Tamworth. However, if the crumpled cross could have been attached to the front cover of a Christian book such as a Gospel, and the pectoral cross is that of a bishop (it is strikingly similar to Cuthbert’s cross) and the decorated handle that is described as mysterious could instead be the handle to a bishop’s hand-bell, then a second individual of power is involved. The only one known to Mercia at this time is Bishop Diuma, but it could also be a roving bishop from elsewhere. All this is beginning to show the hoard is a window to relationships at the top of a Mercian hierarchy. 
And another conjecture. Is it really true there is no feminine piece in the hoard? There are two lentoid brooches which look remarkably like the tortoise brooches worn by women at shoulder or breast level to connect their clothing. Is this the Queen’s contribution to the deposition?
breast plate 2breast plate possible

Monday, 3 February 2014

Early moths

 March moth, two oak beauties, dotted border and pale brindled beauty.
1926 pale brindled beauty 1

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Fungi seen only occasionally

 Exidia thuretiana Netherton Green Jan 2014 (2)Phellodon melaleucus Netherton Green Jan 2014 (2)

On the left is Exidia thuretiana and can only be seen in this form after much rain.
On the right is Phellodon melaleucus in prime condition because it later turns dark and even black. Both were recorded from Netherton Green at Lion’s Den on Hall Lane.

 This is Daldinia concentrica or Cramp ball and below is Sarcocypha coccinea or Scarlet elf cup. Both were seen at RSPB reserve at Middleton.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Garden spider

Araneus diadematus Garden or Cross or Cross orb-weaver spider (1)Araneus diadematus Garden or Cross or Cross orb-weaver spider (2)
Also called the cross or cross orb-weaver spider.
It appears in a garden from June to October, but this one was after moths in January.

Friday, 3 January 2014

A rare moth

0138 Lampronia fuscatella - County first 20138 Lampronia fuscatella - county first

In 2012 this micro-moth was trapped and wrongly identified. It was thought to be new to the area and photographs were sent to the county recorder at Keele university. Re-examination by Dave Emley shows it is the Nationally scarce moth, Lampronia fuscatella.

It was 14mm long, it favours birch and was seen on 27th May. It is a first for the county and indeed is unknown in the Midlands and beyond. Most records are around the coast and along the Welsh border.

Clearly, the distinguishing feature is the orange-yellow tuft on the head and a slightly purplish sheen to the wings. It has a common name of “scarce bright”.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Two new moths seen in the Midlands

1023 Cnephasia genitalana
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.