News of wildlife and other issues

Invertebrates in May

Well, up to and beyond the middle of the month, I didn't see many invertebrates at all. Those that had been out and about had probably been so when I wasn't - mainly because when it hadn't been raining it had looked as though it might. It was only on Monday 21st that the weather seemed to change, then it changed drastically - to hot. It continued pretty much that way until the end of the month.

 On 8/9th May the moth trap in Lakehouse attracted 12 moths of six species (and a large caddis-fly):

Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
1 Emmelina monodactyla  Common Plume 1524
1 small, very pale micro, unidentified as yet.

1 Brindled Pug 1852
2 Brimstone 1906
5 Pale Mottled Willow. 2389. Some of these were tatty beyond belief. However, even when they lose colour the black dots on the leading edge of the wings seem to be a giveaway.

A Brindled Pug 1852 was also caught in the Capel Road trap on 9/10th May (pic)

There were many rainy nights and other reasons why neither of the moth traps could be put out, but butterflies seen during the first two weeks of May included a number of Orange Tips, Small White, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Holly Blue. On 15th May, there was a Holly Blue and a micro-moth, Anthophila fabriciana, sometimes called a Nettle-Tap, which is common around nettles. (click here)

On 16/17th the Capel Road trap attracted: 

1 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998

1 Small Dusty Wave 1707 (click here)
1 Common Pug 1834 (click here)
1 Least Black Arches 2078 (click here). This small, dark moth had me stumped until it was suggested that it may be a partly melanistic form of the Least Black Arches. On 17/18th I caught a more typical form of this species and I am now convinced that they are the same. 

 On 17/18th the Capel Road trap had:

1 Shuttle-shaped Dart (click here)
1 Least Black Arches (click hereNola confusalis 2078.  This is a new species for the area

On 18/19th the Capel Road trap had:

3 Early Grey
1 Pale Mottled Willow
1 Common Pug
1 Double-striped Pug

On 19/20th the Capel Road trap had:

1 Common Pug 1834
1 Early Grey 2243

and Lakehouse had:

Endrosis sarcitrella  White-shouldered House Moth 648
1 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998

8 Early Grey 2243
8 Pale Mottled Willow 2389
1 Silver-Y 2441

On the 20th May the Wren Wildlife and Conservation Group organised a walk looking for butterflies, dragonflies and flowers. The weather was not May-like: somewhat overcast and temperatures just about reaching double-figures, so butterflies and dragonflies were hardly at their peak. In fact, so far off their peak were they that apart from one damselfly and one micro-moth we had no sightings of either of those groups. The one damselfly was a Large Red, Phyrrosoma nymphula, newly emerged and hanging on to a Flag-Iris in Perch Pond (click here). There were a few damselfly exuviae (click here) - which are the empty larval-cases - on Flag-Iris, indicating that some at least damselflies had emerged. The micro-moth was Adela reaumurella - commonly called a Longhorn Moth. There are a few species of longhorn-moths and they are so-called because of their particularly long antennae. The term "micro-moth" is a commonly used term for one of the smaller moths, of which there are many and which can be particularly difficult to identify. Adela reaumurella is one of the easier ones: its antennae and bronze colour makes it quite distinctive. (click here)

A few other invertebrates were noted during the day, including spiders, slugs, flys and bees, some ladybirds - both 7-Spot and Harlequin - and just a couple of hoverflies, including the Marmalade Hoverfly, Episyrphus balteatus. Some of the group visited the Gatehouse Pantry at the City of London Cemetery afterwards, and a Hairy-footed Flower Bee Anthophora plumipes (click here) was seen on the Solomon's Seal in the garden there. We also noted that some of the leaves of this plant had been eaten, and it is likely that this will have been the work of the larvae of the Solomon's Seal Sawfly, Phymatocera aterrima. Worth keeping an eye on this one.

Of the other invertebrates, the spider was also on the flag-iris leaves: a Long-jawed Orb Weaver,Tetragnatha extensa. This likes damp places, and if alarmed sits with its four front legs and its four back legs stretched out fore-and-aft in line with its body. It also has the capability of walking on water, which apparently it can do faster than on land. On an adjacent leaf was a non-biting midge of a group called Chironomids. (click here). There was a cranefly, too - possiblyTipula vernalis. (click here)

The night of 21st/22nd had the following in the Lakehouse Trap:

2 Endrosis sarcitrella  White-shouldered House Moth 648
3 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
2 as yet unidentified micros

2 Oak-tree Pug 1853
2 worn and unidentified pug sp.
1 Brimstone 1906
1 Knot Grass 2289
5 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

The Capel Road trap had nothing apart from a mirid bug - Dryophilocoris flavoquadrimaculatus - quite possibly because the lamp failed to ignite!

A walk across Wanstead Flats on 22nd saw the first two Small Coppers; in Wanstead Park a pair of Speckled Wood butterflies were dancing in dappled shade by Perch Pond, and in Aldersbrook Exchange Lands, a 14-Spot Ladybird Propylea 14-punctata, a Soldier Beetle Cantharis rustica, Orange Tip butterflies, one or two unidentified blue butterflies, some Small Whites and the second species of damselfly this year - a Banded Demoiselle (click here) - were seen. There were also some shield-bugs including the Dock Bug Coreus marginatus and a pair of Bishop's Mitre Aelia acuminita. This increase in activity was much due to a warming of the weather, and a bright, sunny day.

Capel Road's moth trap overnight on 22/23rd:

2 possible Pandemis cerasana Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix 970
1 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth 1428

1 Green Carpet 1776
2 Early Grey 2243

On 23rd May in the garden (Capel Road) there was the annual visit of the Large Red Damselflies - about three, a courting Speckled Wood couple and by the pond - seeing off everything - the hoverfly Helophilus pendulus. Also in the garden was a new species of hoverfly for the area: Merodon equestris eqestris (click here), the Nettle -tap moth Anthophila fabriciana , the Bee Moth Aphomia sociella and the longhorn moth Adela reaumurella (click here). There were numbers of these settling on Red Valerian and Yellow Archangel. There were also - incidentally and doubtless feeding on invertebrates - ten basking Common Frogs by the pond and an uncounted number that jumped in as I approached.

The 23rd May was - like the day before - a hot one, with temperatures up to 25.C. Wanstead Park produced a number of insects, notably a Brimstone butterfly which - as usual - didn't stop for a photograph. Other butterflies were a number of blues - again, not stopping even for i.d. - plenty of Orange Tips, Speckled Woods and two Small Coppers on the Plain. Moths seen were a new species for the area 0652 Alabonia geoffrella (click here), which was on tree-leaves at the edge of Northumberland Avenue, numbers of Adela reaumurella (the longhorn) and a Mother Shipton on the Plain. This last is so-named because part of the wing-pattern is said to resemble a well-known Yorkshire witch (of old). Landing actually on the surface of the Perch Pond was a Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata. There were also plenty of damselflies in evidence at last, many freshly emerged of course, and these included Blue-tailed, Azure and Large Red Damselfly Pyrhosoma nymphula . Beetles noted were Gastrophysa viridula by Perch Pond and Malachius bipustulatus on May-flowers on the Plain.

In the Capel Road trap on 23/24th:

1 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
1 Cydia pomonella, Codling Moth 1261
1 unidentified tortrix

1 Lime-speck Pug 1825
1 Bright-line Bright-eye 2192
1 Early Grey 2243
1 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

The Lakehouse trap did much better:

1 Nemophora degeerella 148
1 Esperia sulphurella 649
19 Epiphyas postvittana  Light Brown Apple Moth 998
2 Celypha lacunana: 1076 This is a new species for the area
1 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth 1428

1 Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscatia 1768. This is a new species for the area
2 Oak Tree Pug 1853
1 Double-striped Pug 1862
1 pug sp.
3 Knot Grass 2289
2 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

The catch at Capel Road on 24/25th:

1 Syndemis musculana  986 This is a new species for the area. (click here)
1 Codling Moth Cydia pomonella 1261
1 unidentified micro (click here)

1 Satin Wave 1709 (click here)
1 Lime-speck Pug 1825
1 Early Grey 2243

and  a crane-fly species (click here)

 
In Lakehouse Road trap on 24/25th were:

1 Endrosis sarcitrella  White-shouldered House Moth 648
15 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
1 Cydia pomonella  Codling Moth 1261
2 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth
1428
3 other small micros, which haven't been figured out yet; also 3 Tortrix which may not be Light Brown Apple Moth.

2 Small Dusty Wave 1707
1 Garden Carpet 1728
1 Grey Pine Carpet 1768
1 White-spotted Pug 1835  Eupithecia tripunctaria
This is a new species for the area
1 Oak-tree Pug 1853
2 Brimstone 1906
2 Willow Beauty 1937 (male and female)
2 Shuttle-shaped Dart 2092
1 Knot Grass 2289
2 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

On 25/26th in Capel Road trap:

1 Double-striped Pug 1862
2 Willow Beauty 1937
1 Bird's Wing 2301
1 Marbled Minor or Tawny Marbled Minor Oligia sp. 2337 - this could be Marbled Minor, Tawny Marbled Minor or even a Rufous Minor, the difference really only ascertainable by examination of the genitalia - which I am loathe to do. It would annoy the creature and be fiddly for me. (click here)

In the garden on 25th was new species of beetle in the area, the longhorn beetle Strangalia melanura

26/27 May catch at Capel Road:

1 Tinea trinotella  Bird's-nest Moth 247 - a new species for the area (pic)

1 Common Swift 17 (click here)
1 Common Pug 1834
1 Willow Beauty 1937
1 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

The Lakehouse trap on 26/27th had the following:

5 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
1 Aphomia sociella Bee Moth 1428

1 Spruce Carpet Thera brittanica 1769. This is a new species for the area
1 Common Pug 1834
1 Willow Beauty 1937
1 Light Emerald 1961
1 Poplar Hawkmoth 1981
2 Shuttle-shaped Dart 2092
1 Large Yellow Underwing  2107
2 Knot Grass 2289
3 Pale Mottle Willow 2389

The 27th May was another very warm day, with temperatures above 25.c. A walk in Wanstead Park in the latter part of the morning proved rather disappointing, as fewer insects were to be seen than expected. There were plenty of damselflies by Heronry Pond, including Common Blue (pic.), Azure and Large Red, but almost no butterflies, apart from a white and some Speckled Wood. Even in the garden, not much happening save for the rapid appearance and disappearance of a blue butterfly, one or two Speckled Wood, and the same three damselfly species as in the Park. Then what I at first took to be a Hornet appeared, and flew off. When it returned it was clearly a female Broad-bodied Chaser, which posed not only for pictures (here) but for video too (below).

Moths in the Lakehouse moth trap on 28/29th were:

2 Hofmannophila pseudospretella Brown House Moth 647
2 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
unidentified micros, several

1 Garden Carpet, 1728
1 Common Marbled Carpet, 1764
1 White-spotted Pug 1835
2 Willow Beauty 1937
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart 2092
1 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

In the garden on the 29th it was cooler - up to about 22.C - cloudier, but still invertebrate-quiet; a few Speckled Wood, one bright Red Admiral - the first of the year - and a few of the common damselflies. Quite a few bees, and just one Marmalade Hoverfly. A tiny, pale blue flying creature landed on my foot and stayed long enough for a photo-shoot. I assume it was a species of Wooly Aphid. (pic.) This prompted a look for some other aphids, which were quickly found on the leaves of roses. These were green ones. (pic.)

The Capel Road trap provided a Common Marbled Carpet and a Double-striped Pug, in addition to two micros. There were Holly Blues and Speckled Wood occasionally in the garden, and the first Red-eyed Damselfly on Alexandra Lake.

 Overnight 29/30th, Capel Road accumulated

1 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
1 Common Swift 17

1 Marbled Carpet 1764
1 Green Pug 1860
1 Double-striped Pug 1862
1 Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria 1936. This is a new species for the area.
1 Willow Beauty 1937
2 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

The Lakehouse trap had:

2 Hofmannophila pseudospretella Brown House Moth 647
1 Endrosis sarcitrella  White-shouldered House Moth 648
5 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998
1 Cydia pomonella  Codling Moth 1261
1 Pyrausta aurata  1361
1 Bee Moth Aphomia sociella 1428

1 Common Marbled Carpet 1764
2 White-spotted Pug 1835
1 Green Pug Pasiphila chloerata 1860 (partly melanistic) (pic.)
1 unid. pug sp.
3 Willow Beauty 1937
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart 2092
5 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

The night of the 30/31st at Capel Road:

1 Hofmannophila pseudospretella Brown House Moth 647

1 Common Swift 17
1 Currant Pug 1871
1 Double-striped Pug 1862
1 Pale Mottled Willow 2389
1 Waved Umber 1936 This is a new species for the area

31 May/1st June in Capel Road:

1 Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth 998

1 Common Swift 17
1 Currant Pug 1871
2 Willow Beauty 1937
1 Large Yellow Underwing 2107
1 Lychnis 2172
2 Pale Mottled Willow 2389

 

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

Pale Mottled Willow - 8/9th May, Lakehouse moth trap

Common Plume - 8/9th May, Lakehouse moth trap

Anthophila fabriciana, Nettle-Tap - 15th May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands (click here)

Peacock - 16th May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Common Pug - 16/17th May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

Small Dusty Wave - 16/17th May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

Least Black Arches Nola confusalis (2078) - 16/17th May, Capel Road moth trap (click here). This is a new species for the area 

Shuttle-shaped Dart - 17/18th May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

Double-striped Pug - 18/19 May, Capel Road moth trap

Silver-Y - 19/20th May, Lakehouse moth trap

White-shouldered House Moth, Endrosis sarcitrella - 19/20th May, Lakehouse moth trap

Large Red Damselfly - 20th May, Perch Pond, Wanstead Park

Long-jawed Orb Weaver,Tetragnatha extensa - 20th May, Heronry Pond, Wanstead Park

Brimstone moth - 21/22nd May, Lakehouse moth trap

Oak-tree Pug - 21/22nd May, Lakehouse moth trap

Small Copper, 22nd May, Wanstead Flats

14-Spot Ladybird Propylea 14-punctata - 22nd May, Aldersbrook Exchange Land

Soldier Beetle Cantharis rustica - 22nd May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Ichneumon wasp, possibly Pimpla hypochondriaca - 22nd May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Banded Demoiselle - 22nd May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands, by Roding (click here)

Dock Bug Coreus marginatus - 22nd May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Bishop's Mitre Aelia acuminita - 22nd May, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Bee Moth Aphomia sociella - 22/23 May, Capel Road moth trap

Green Carpet - 22/23 May, Capel Road moth trap

hoverfly Merodon equestris eqestris - 23 May, Capel Road garden

Nettle -tap moth Anthophila fabriciana - 23 May, Capel Road garden

Longhorn Moth Adela cuprella - 23 May, Capel Road garden (click here)

Alabonia geoffrella (0652) - 23 May, by Northumberland Avenue, Wanstead Park (click here) This is a new species for the area

Mother Shipton - 23 May, The Plain, Wanstead Park

Small China-mark Cataclysta lemnata - 23 May, Perch Pond, Wanstead Park

Blue-tailed Damselfly - 23 May, Wanstead Park

Azure Damselfly - 23 May, Wanstead Park

Gastrophysa viridula - 23 May, by Perch Pond, Wanstead Park

Malachius bipustulatus - 23 May, on May flowers on the Plain, Wanstead Park

Lime-speck Pug - 23/24 May, Capel Road moth trap

Bright-line Bright-eye - 23/24 May, Capel Road moth trap

Codling Moth Cydia pomonella - 23/24 May, Capel Road moth trap

Nemophora degeerella - 23/24 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Esperia sulphurella - 23/24 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Celypha lacunana (1076) - 23/24 May, Lakehouse moth trap.  This is a new species for the area

Grey Pine Carpet Thera obeliscata (1768)- 23/24 May, Lakehouse moth trap.  This is a new species for the area  

Double-striped Pug - 23/24 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Knot Grass - 23/24 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Garden Carpet - 24/25 May, Lakehouse moth trap

White-spotted Pug Eupithecia tripunctaria (1835) - 24/25 May, Lakehouse moth trap.  This is a new species for the area 

Willow Beauty - 24/25 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Syndemis musculana  986 - 24/25 May, Capel Road moth trap. This is a new species for the area.

Satin Wave - 24/25 May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

crane-fly species - 24/25 May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

Longhorn Beetle Strangalia melanura - 25 May. This is a new species for the area.

Bird's Wing - 25/26 May, Capel Road moth trap

Marbled or Tawny Marbled Minor Oligia sp. -   25/26 May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

Common Swift - 26/27 May, Capel Road moth trap (click here)

Broad-bodied Chaser - 27th May, Capel Road garden. (click here)

Light Emerald - 26/27 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Spruce Carpet Thera britannica (1769) - 26/27 May, Lakehouse moth trap.  This is a new species for the area 

Poplar Hawkmoth - 26/27 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Large Yellow Underwing - 26/27 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Common Marbled Carpet - 28/29 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Red Admiral - 29 May, Capel Road garden

Pale Tussock Callitera pudibunda (2028) - 29/30 May, Lakehouse Estate. This is a new species for the area 

Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria (1936) - 30/31 May, Capel Road moth trap. This is a new species for the area

Lychnis - 30/31 May, Capel Road moth trap

Pyrausta aurata - 30/31 May, Lakehouse moth trap

Green Pug - 30/31 May, Lakehouse moth trap  (pic.)

 

for invertebrates in June click here

 

 Paul Ferris, May 2012

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Green Tree-frogs at Snaresbrook?

The account below of Green Tree-frogs in Snaresbrook was taken from 'The Essex Naturalist', Vol.1. 1887

It is suggested that the species may have been Hyla arborea, the European Tree-frog, which is native to Europe excluding Britain, Ireland, Spain and Portugal. The Editors' comments are interesting: they don't seem to have persisted!

Locally, we only seem to have Common Frogs Rana temporaria (as well as Common Toads Bufo bufo), although not too far away - certainly at Rainham Marsh - there are other non-native frogs living and breeding quite happily. These may be Marsh Frogs or Edible Frogs, and maybe Pool Frogs as well, but as these seem to interbreed quite frequently there is some uncertainty!

 

green tree frogs snaresbrook essex nat vol1 1887

Paul Ferris, 21st April 2012

Exchange Lands Cycle Path update

Work to lay the surface of the Roding Valley Way shared-use track through the Exchange Lands started during the first half of April - a very wrong time for such disturbance to be taking place. (see here for previous article) Already many birds had started nesting in the vegetation alongside the route - birds like Long-tailed Tits would have made use of such areas, Common Whitethroats - one of the specialities of this area - had just started to move in and Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps were vigorously singing during a Wren Group migrant bird-watch walk there on 15th. It may have been that bad weather had delayed a proposed start, but this disregard of the wildlife aspect of the area in favour of a cycle route is typical of the attitude in general towards our environment.

Construction work in the Exchange LandsConstruction work in the Exchange Lands on 4th AprilA couple of weeks ago there was an article on Radio 4 that talked about just how rare Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers are. The CIty of London Corporation - in their efforts to protect people from branches of trees falling on heads - had just had the tops lopped off  the very trees that had provided nesting places last year for this species and Little Owls on Wanstead Flats! Also on Wanstead Flats - and for reasons that I cannot think of lest it be stop people tripping on uneven  ground - the rough grassland around one of our rare Creeping Willow shrubs is now being mown - leaving it isolated in a lawn. In Wanstead Park, the area that is being mown for recreation and picnic purposes (I suppose) seems to be expanding and I fear that it will at some time encroach upon one of the Park's rarities - the Harebell. Swings and roundabouts, anyone?

On a more positive note - I hope - the Skylarks on the Flats will soon be nesting and signs should be up advising dog-walkers of this, encouraging them not to let their dogs run loose over those areas. Similarly, in Wanstead Park the Bluebells of Chalet Wood are becoming very flowery, and the signs that were put up at the access-points to that wood asking to avoid trampling and not to pick, should have gone up. Those Bluebells are a victim of their own success, with bluebell walks already organised, individuals and families going to enjoy them and photographers going to photograph them. Let us hope that the tepee-builders don't have too much impact this year; the trampling caused by this fun-activity is seriously detrimental to the development of the plants and should be discouraged. I really think that we should even go to the extreme of erecting temporary fenced routes for people to follow - no more than low, roughly constructed single-log barriers - to act more as psychological barriers than physical ones. Might be able to make some good use of those felled or fallen branches?

Paul Ferris, 17th April 2012

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

Early invertebrates in 2012

Perhaps with the sighting by Tim Harris of a few Red Admiral butterflies on Wanstead Flats on 26th February, Spring could be thought to be near. I was in Bournemouth - so missed the early butterflies locally but had already seen the hoverfly Eristalis tenax as well as a number of Harlequin and some 7-spot Ladybirds all sunbathing on rhododendron in Wanstead Park on the same day, 23rd February. Tim put out a moth trap in his garden near Bush Wood, on the night of 23/24th February and caught an Angle Shades moth and two Small Brindled Beauty moths. The Angle Shades is a particularly attractive moth, and the Small Brindled Beauty is a species which I haven't recorded in the area before. On 26/27th February there was a Satellite moth in the trap and on 28/29th the catch was Pale Mottled Willow, Common Quaker and Small Quaker. I managed to get my trap set up at about midnight on 29th Feb/1st March, but as I missed the evening flight only caught one moth: a Hebrew Character. Tim caught 1 Hebrew Character, 2 Common Quakers, 1 Small Quaker and two new moths for the area - an Oak Beauty and a March Moth.

bee_bombus_terrestris_col_120301_0281artThe 1st March was a fine day, with temperatures up to around 15.C. A walk to the City of London Cemetery enabled me to spot a Brimstone butterfly by Alexandra Lake - interestingly in the same location as my first Brimstone last Spring. As with that one, this year's made just as rapid an un-photographable getaway, as did the Red Admiral some half hour later in the Cemetery!

insect_beetle_exochomus_quadripustulatus_col_120301_0296artPine Ladybirds on 1st MarchBees, on the other hand, were more obliging, and as usual the heather-beds in the cemetery provided a good feeding ground for Honey Bees Apis mellifera, Red-tailed Bumblebees Bombus lapidarius, Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris and the Tree Bee Bombus hypnorum. The last is interesting because it is only eleven years since this species was first reported in England, and is now becoming so common as to sometimes being called the new garden bumblebee. There were a scattering of 7-spot Ladybirds around the heathers too, and on the smooth bark of a tree a number of very small black ladybirds with red markings which were Pine Ladybirds, Exochomus 4-pustulatus. Spiders  were also evident, including a number of Zebra Spiders and possibly two species of Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) which I have not identified. Earlier in the year - on the 14th February -  a close look at some moss on Wanstead Flats had revealed another spider species new to me. This was the very small (3-6mm) Enoplognatha ovata - sometimes known as the Comb-footed Spider.  (see here)

hebrew_character_gdn_120301_0228artHebrew Character torpid after a night in the trapThe moth trap was set out at dusk on 1st March, and I looked forward to what may have been in it in the morning. It should be noted that these traps catch the moths live, and they can settle quite cosily into supplied egg-boxes, to be examined in the morning and carefully released so as not to get bird-eaten! Overnight temperatures in my garden - which is situated between Wanstead Flats and Manor Park Cemetery - fell to 5.C, and it was mostly cloudy. Only two moths were present in the morning, and both were Hebrew Character, Tim Harris' trap in the Lakehouse area had Pale Brindled Beauty, Small Quaker and the Plume Moth Emmelina monodactyla - a slightly better catch which may have been influenced by the fact that it is a new trap and my trap-light is old. This could mean that it does not have the attractive pull of a younger model.

On 2/3 March the temperature dropped to about 5.C, and the haul was two Hebrew Character and another new species, the Dotted Border (see here). Another cool night on 3/4 March - with temperatures between 7.4 and 9.C. and the the trap not being set until 9pm - accumulated three Hebrew Character and one Small Quaker.

The night of 4/5th March was cold, wet and windy, and I did not set the trap. At least the 5/6th was dry, The temperature during the evening and night was about 5.C., and the fact that the egg-boxes contained - once again - two Hebrew Characters proved that they were using it as a hotel! The 5/6th proved me wrong, as no moths were recorded, nor did I have any on 6/7th, though Tim's Lakehouse garden trap had four Small Quakers.

Ichneumon  fly 12th March 2012Ichneumon fly on 11th MarchThe 8th March was a sunny day with temperatures of about 10.C. at mid-day. A short visit to the City of London Cemetery saw three species of hoverfly - including the Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus and an Eristalis species, a few bees and quite a lot of Pine Ladybirds, most of the preceding on the leaves of rhododendron. In Wanstead Park too, bees were to be seen including an Andrena species, possibly Andrena fulva.

My overnight 8/9th moth catch was nil - not helped by setting the trap late at 10.30. The temperature was higher: down to 7.C. Tim's trap did better, with 2 March Moth, 2 Common Quaker, 1 Small Quaker, 1 Twin-spotted Quaker and 2 Hebrew Character. 9/10th saw temperatures down to 9.C., with a fairly calm night. The result was one Hebrew Character and one Common Quaker. Tim's catch was 9 Common Quaker, 3 Small Quaker, 1 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1 Early Grey, 1 Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana.

10/11th was warmer still and in the evening darkness when most of the moths would have been flying was about 11.C. Four Hebrew Characters, a Light Brown Apple Moth Epiphyas postvittana and two March Dagger moths Diurnea fagella (see here). There were also two Ichneuman flies of the same species in the trap. These are parasitic insects related to wasps. In the Lakehouse trap were 5 Common Quaker, 3 Small Quaker, 2 Hebrew Character, 1 Oak Beauty. A Red Admiral butterfly was reported from Wanstead Flats on 11th.

Angle ShadesAngle ShadesThe next night was cooler again with temperatures down to 6.C. and the catch at Capel Road was a meagre Hebrew Character and a single March Dagger Moth. The latter is well known for its tendency towards melanism - that is sometimes occurring in a darker form than is normal. This is said to be due to the moth being a trunk-rester (it rests on tree-trunks!) and the darker forms have less chance of being seen by predators and thus tend to survive to pass on the genes that lead to the darker colouring. That said, my examples were of a somewhat in-between colour. Only one moth in the trap on 12/13th: an Angle Shades. The next night - 13/14th - hovered around 7.C. from dusk to dawn, and I wasn't surprised at a single cold Hebrew Character being my catch. However, in the Lakehouse garden the catch was quite impressive : 1 Common Quaker, 3 Small Quaker, 2 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character, 2 Early Grey and 1 Small Brindled Beauty (dark form). The last few days had been dull and cool, and there were few insects to be seen generally, although I did notice the first Pond Skater (Gerris sp.) in my small garden pond. The Lakehouse catch on 14/16th was: 6 Common Quaker, 3 Small Quaker, 1 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character, plus a hoverfly Epistrophe eligans. The Capel Road catch was 2 Common Quaker and 2 Hebrew Character. Temperatures the day before (15th) reached 18/19.C. and bees and a Red Admiral Butterfly were much in evidence in the C. of L. Cemetery, and overnight temperatures were >9.C.,  slightly warmer than of late and perhaps reflecting the slightly more numerous catches. On 16/17th temperatures dropped from 10.C. in the evening to 8.C lowest overnight. Tthe Capel Road catch was 5 Hebrew Character and 1 Common Quaker. and a Plume Moth Amblyptilia acanthadactyla. The Lakehouse catch was 4 Common Quaker, 2 Small Quaker, 1 Twin-spotted Quaker, 3 Hebrew Character and 1 Common Plume. On the 19/20, Tim's catch was as follows: 5 Common Quaker, 2 Small Quaker, 2 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1 Light-brown Apple Moth, 1 Tawny Pinion. On 20/21st: 2 Common Quaker, 3 Small Quaker, 2 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1 Early Grey, 1 Common Plume, 1 Beautiful Plume, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla, and a male March Dagger (Diurnea fagella). On 21st the first Small White butterfly was reported, close to Angell Pond on Wanstead Flats. The Lakehouse catch on 22/23rd was: 13 Common Quaker, 1 Early Grey, 1 dark-form Chestnut. Butterflies were reported on the warm Saturday of the 24th : Peacock and Red Admiral in the Aldersbrook Exchange Lands and Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood near the Cat and Dog Pond on Wanstead Flats. Overnight on 24/25th a  moth trap was set in Richard Oakman's garden in Grosvenor Road, Wanstead and produced  2 Common Quaker, 2 Hebrew Character and 1 Early Grey. At Lakehouse on 26/27th the catch produced 12 individuals of 4 species: 7 Common Quaker, 3 Twin-spotted Quaker, 1 Hebrew Character, 1 Early Grey. There were also additional reports of Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Peacock and Speckled Wood at the weekend from the Park and the Flats. My catch in Capel Road on 27/28th was just two Hebrew Character, and on 28th there was the first Holly Blue butterfly of the season. Muslin MothMuslin MothOvernight (28/29th) in Capel Road produced 2 Hebrew Character, 2 Common Plume and one Muslin Moth - early for this species. In Lakehouse Road were just 3 Small Quaker. The Capel Road catch on 29/30 was 4 Hebrew Character, 1 Muslin Moth, 1 Common Plume, 1 Clouded Drab (male). The last is a new species for the area, and because it was somewhat lacking in distinct patterning, took a while to identify. It was easier when it woke up and spread itself a bit!

On Wanstead Flats on 30th March, many of the "volcanos" produced by mining-bees Andrena sp. were evident along the dry track on the Flats adjacent to Capel Road and by Alexandra Lake. Also by the Sandhills were the first Bee-flys (Bombylius major). In the Capel Road moth-trap on 30/31st were 2 Hebrew Character, 1 Muslin Moth and the first Double-striped Pug of the year. At Lakehouse Road the catch was 5 Common Quaker, 3 Hebrew Character, 2 Early Grey, 1 Brindled Pug, 2 White-shouldered House Moth (648) and one micro which could be Agonopterix heracliana? For the last night of March, in Capel Road were just 3 Hebrew Character. The day had been warm enough but the night-time tempereatures remained at about 6.C.

List of Invertebrates recorded in February and March in order of appearance:

Comb-footed Spider Enoplognatha ovata - I4 February, Wanstead Flats

hoverfly Eristalis tenax - 23 February, Wanstead Park

Harlequin Ladybird - 23 February, Wanstead Park

7-spot Ladybirds - 23 February, Wanstead Park

Angle Shades moth - 23/24 February, Lakehouse Estate

Small Brindled Beauty - 23/24 February, Lakehouse Estate

Red Admiral - 26th February, Wanstead Flats

Satellite moth - 26/27 February, Lakehouse Estate

Pale Mottled Willow - 28/29 February, Lakehouse Estate

Common Quaker - 28/29 February, Lakehouse Estate

Small Quaker - 28/29 February, Lakehouse Estate

Hebrew Character - 29/1March, Capel Road

Oak Beauty - 29/1March, Lakehouse Estate

March Moth - 29/1March, Lakehouse Estate

Brimstone butterfly - I March, Wanstead Flats

Honey Bees Apis mellifera - I March, City of London Cemetery

Red-tailed Bumblebees Bombus lapidarius - I March, City of London Cemetery

Buff-tailed Bumblebee Bombus terrestris - I March, City of London Cemetery

Tree Bee Bombus hypnorum - I March, City of London Cemetery

Pine Ladybirds, Exochomus 4-pustulatus - I March, City of London Cemetery

Zebra Spiders - I March, City of London Cemetery

Wolf Spider (Lycosidae) - I March, City of London Cemetery

Pale Brindled Beauty - 1/2 March, Lakehouse Estate

Common Plume Moth Emmelina monodactyla - 1/2 March, Lakehouse Estate

Dotted Border (see here) - 2/3 March, Lakehouse Estate

Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus - 8 March, City of London Cemetery

Eristalis species - 8 March, City of London Cemetery

Andrena species, possibly Andrena fulva - 8 March, City of London Cemetery

Twin-spotted Quaker - 8/9 March, Lakehouse Estate

Early Grey - 9/10 March, Lakehouse Estate

Light Brown Apple Moth, Epiphyas postvittana - 9/10 March, Lakehouse Estate

March Dagger moths Diurnea fagella (see here) - 10/11 March, Capel Road

Ichneuman fly - 10/11 March, Capel Road

Oak Beauty - 10/11 March, Lakehouse Estate

hoverfly Epistrophe eligans - 13/14 March, Lakehouse Estate

Beautiful Plume Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - 16/17 March, Lakehouse Estate

Tawny Pinion - 19/20 March, Lakehouse Estate

Beautiful Plume, Amblyptilia acanthadactyla - 20/21 March, Lakehouse Estate

Small White butterfly - 21 March, Wanstead Flats

Peacock - 21 March, Aldersbrook Exchange Lands

Small Tortoiseshell - 24 March, Wanstead Flats

Speckled Wood - 24 March, Wanstead Flats

Holly Blue - 28 March, Wanstead Park

Muslin Moth - 28/29 March, Capel Road

Clouded Drab - 29/30 March, Capel Road

Double-striped Pug - 30/31 March, Capel Road

Brindled Pug - 30/31 March, Lakehouse Estate

White-shouldered House Moth (648) - 30/31 March, Lakehouse Estate

Agonopterix heracliana? - 30/31 March, Lakehouse Estate

 

for invertebrates in May, click here

for invertebrates in June, click here

Paul Ferris, March