Invertebrates in April

The first notable insect in my garden on 1st April was a Speckled Wood butterfly - albeit they had been seen during March. There were a number of bees about and also hoverflies, including Melanostoma scalare, Eupeodes luniger, Eristalis tenax and a Syrphus species - probably torvus. The night (1/2 April) was cold, and the moth catch in Capel Road was just two Hebrew Character, and in Lakehouse just one Hebrew Character. On 2nd April in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands was one Peacock and a number of small White butterflies (at least five). These were not necessarily Small Whites, although probably, and certainly one was a Green-veined White. The moth catch on 2/3rd April was the usual two Hebrew Characters (it's a kipping place) plus a new moth for this year - a Satellite. This moth has a distinct mark on each wing, which looks a little like a planet with two orbiting satellites - or perhaps like a flying saucer!

On 10th April, two Speckled Wood butterflies were circling each other in a courtship ritual in my garden. I wasn't able to put the trap out until 10/11th, and the catch that night was one Hebrew Character, one Early Grey, two Clouded Drab. The night of 11/12th produced one Hebrew Character and one Clouded Drab, which I recognised as the same individual as one of those caught the night before. Only one Hebrew Character on 13/14th. On the 14th, a male Orange Tip butterfly was seen in Wanstead Park during a BNA walk.

It may be noticed that the name "Hebrew Character" seems to be cropping up a lot, and indeed one, two, and up to four have occured on almost all nights since 1st March. I suspect that the one or two may have been the same individuals who have just found the trap irresistable. Even on the cold nights in mid-April, one was present - the only moth again on 15/16th.

Between 15th-20th, there was a lot of rain and lowish temperatures at night, so the moth trap was not put out. A day-time reprieve from rain, together with some sunshine and temperatures just reaching 13.C. brought out a blue butterfly - probably a Holly Blue - in my Capel Road garden as well as three species of ladybird: a Harlequin, a 7-spot and a few 22-spot. There were also a selection of hoverflies including Syrphus and Eristalis species, a Zebra Spider and a Pisaura spider.

Putting the moth trap out in Capel Road on 20/21st resulted in a nil catch. The daytime on the 21st was much brighter than of late, and on entering Wanstead Park I immediately saw a few Longhorn Moths Adela reaumurella - albeit not doing their usual dance amongst the leaves, but just sitting still. There was quite a bit of insect activity around the patch of Yellow Archangel by Reservoir Wood, however, with numbers of bees including the Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes  very active (click here). On 22nd, another visit to the Park added the tiny Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner moth to this year's new entrants, with a few on the trunk of a horse chestnut, of course. Butterflies seen were a Green-veined White, an Orange Tip and a Speckled Wood.

The poor weather during the day and night resulted in a nil catch in the Capel Road trap overnight on 24/25th, but the Lakehouse trap caught one Early Grey, one Twenty-plumed Moth, one Light Brown Apple Moth, and two Brindled Pug. A  Brimstone came to light but didn't enter the trap.

On the evening of the 25th a moth trap was set up in the grounds of the City of London Cemetery as a trial. The weather was bad, with rain and cool temperatures, so not unexpectedly the catch was nil.

List of Invertebrates recorded in April for the first time this year, in order of appearance:

Speckled Wood - 1st April, garden

hoverfly Melanostome scalare - 1st April, garden

hoverfly Eupeodes luniger - 1st April, garden

hoverfly Syrphus sp. - 1st April, garden

hoverfly Eristalis tenax - 1st April, garden

Green-veined White - 2nd April, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

moth Satellite - 2/3 April, garden

Orange Tip - 14th April, Wanstead Park

22-spot Ladybird - 20th April, garden

Longhorn Moth Adela reaumurella - 21st April, Wanstead Park

Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes - 21st April, Wanstead Park

Horse-chestnut Leaf Miner - 22nd April, Wanstead Park

Twenty-plumed Moth - 23/24 April, Lakehouse moth trap

Light Brown Apple Moth - 23/24 April, Lakehouse moth trap

Brindled Pug - 23/24 April, Lakehouse moth trap

Brimstone - 23/24 April, Lakehouse garden


Paul Ferris, April