Friday 30 October 2020

More Autumn Moths.

 With the moth trap going out more regularly this Autumn, well, at least until the weather really turned wet and windy, a varied selection of moths have been caught including several that I haven't caught before in the garden.

New moths included a cracking Dotted Chestnut, Large Ranunculus and Bloxworth Snout were caught and some more familiar autumn specialists such as the Black Rustic and Green-brindled Crescent also put in an appearance.

Pale Eggar.

Blair's Mocha.

Dotted Chestnut.

Pale Mottled Willow.

Black Rustic.

Green-brindled Crescent.

November/Autumnal Moth.

Large Ranunculus.

Red-green Carpet.

Bloxworth Snout.

Yellow-line Quaker.

Red-line Quaker.

This past week I found a green larvae on the garden furniture that turned out to be the larva of the Brimstone Moth.

Brimstone Moth larva.

Friday 23 October 2020

Fly Agaric.

 I feel I am in a type of lockdown currently with very few opportunities to venture out, which is one of the reasons that the moth trap has been so well used recently.

One of my few trips out was last week when I went out to hunt for the bizarre fungus, the Octopus Stinkhorn, also known as Devil's Fingers.  This is a species I have never seen before and knowing there were a small number about I headed to a known site and started hunting.

Unfortunately I was unsuccessful, but a good friend had seen one a few miles from where I was and I had a good description from him of the site. Even then it was so well hidden I couldn't find it. I called him up on the mobile and he then told me exactly where to look and I did see it. It was in very deep undergrowth and it was also slightly past its best so I didn't photograph it, but it was good to finally catch up with this species, so thanks to Jim.

At the first location there were very high numbers of Fly Agaric which gave me some photo opportunities. A species that I don't often see in decent numbers. A few other fungi were also seen, although the light was fading early in the overcast conditions.  

A pleasant day out, and hoping for some more chances soon.

Fly Agaric.

Fly Agaric group.

Close-up on the top of a Fly Agaric.

Possible Birch Bolete.

Sunday 18 October 2020

Wonder of the Day.

 Ever since I started to moth trap in the garden I have always hoped to get the stunningly beautiful Merveille du Jour which is a moth of the Autumn months.

The only time I have seen this species is when Nigel caught some a few years ago and I went to see them. However, it doesn't seem to occur in any number near the coast so it was a great surprise when a couple of weeks ago I found one near my own trap.

Being early in the flight season it was in superb condition and it certainly lived up to it's name as Merveille du Jour which translates to Wonder of the day'!!

Merveille du Jour.

This Autumn has been good for my catches in the garden and I have had several new species as well as some that are good to see again. 

A selection of some of those below.

Canary-shouldered Thorn.

Clancy's Rustic.

Feathered Ranunculus.

Pink-barred Sallow.

L-album Wainscot.


Black Rustic.

Feathered Brindle.

Saturday 10 October 2020

Fen Raft.

 When Nigel and I were checking out his Willow Emerald Damselfly site Nigel showed me a nursery web complete with many spiderlings of the very rare Fen Raft Spider. Nearby was the mother keeping a caring and watchful eye or eight on them.

This species is extremely rare with only 3 known sites in the UK of natural populations. Conservation groups have recently introduced the spider to new areas to try to preserve them, but the best site in the UK is local to us at Pevensey Levels.

Most years we both spend a lot of time on the Levels searching out these cracking creatures, but due to the restrictions etc this year these are the only ones that I've seen this year. 

The Fen Raft Spider should not be confused with the more common Raft Spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus) as that species inhabit acid pools mainly on heathland.

Fen Raft Spider nursery web and spiderlings.

Female Fen Raft Spider ( Dolomedes plantarius )

My thanks to Nigel for finding these.

Wednesday 7 October 2020


 Last year in the Autumn I had several Blackcaps visiting the garden feeding on the large seed-heads of the garden Yukka type plant I have growing.

This year they are back with possibly even more, at least 8 birds present and almost certainly several more as they fly into the small Beech tree next door before flying into the Yukka or other shrubs to feed, the birds are continuously flitting back and forth.

Once again I stood in the middle of the lawn under the bag hide I have and waited for the birds to pose for me. Several shots were eventually taken, some in the Beech and some in the Yukka. A good way of spending an hour or so.

Female  Blackcap.

Male Blackcap.

Female Blackcap surrounded by seeds.

Friday 2 October 2020

Clifden Nonpareil, the Blue Underwing.

 In recent weeks I have rekindled my moth trapping interest, partly down to Clare, David and Nigel talking to me about their catches, and also with finding it difficult to get out for long walks it has brought the wildlife to me!!

Having borrowed an actinic trap from Clare it has also simplified setting up the trap as I don't have to be so careful shielding the light from the neighbours as it doesn't light up the neighbourhood, it has made life so much easier I have now purchased a new actinic trap for myself.

I now have plenty of moth images to show on here, but first is a Clifden Nonpariel that David caught a couple of weeks ago.  As I was meeting David that day he brought the moth with him and we took a few photos of it before the walk. Fortunately it performed well for us and after the session he was able to take it back with him so it could be released where it came from.

The Clifden Nonpariel is a very large moth and is still considered quite a rarity, although it is certainly turning up much more these days as it is now breeding in Sussex as well as migrating over from the continent.  I have only seen the moth once before when Nigel caught one a few years ago and I drove to his place to see and photograph it. One day I may well catch one in my garden, but until then I will make do with photos of the 2 caught by my friends.

These 2 photos are of David's moth.

Clifden Nonpariel.

Another moth I haven't caught myself is the Scarce Bordered Straw. Clare caught one and invited me around to photograph it. 

Scarce Bordered Straw.

With the onset of Autumn many different moths are now appearing and the following is a small selection of the moths I have caught over the past few weeks.

Feathered Gothic.

Angle Shades.

Box-tree Moth

Box-tree Moth (dark form).

Oak Hook-tip

Autumnal Rustic.

Rosy Rustic.