Wednesday 26 April 2023

Spring Patch Specials.

 I have been lucky to have had several highlights already this year with the Large Tortoiseshell being the most important one.

However, I have also already seen a very early Clouded Yellow which was a find on my local patch. With a run of North/Easterly winds for several days before seeing the butterfly, it does raise the question of whether it was a migrant or one that somehow managed to survive the winter in one of its stages. I only managed a poor record shot of this unexpected find but it certainly brightened up the day that had already seen another unusual sighting.

Clouded Yellow. The first for Sussex 2023. 22nd April. My 2nd earliest ever sighting of this species beaten only by the 15th April in 2015.

Just before seeing the Clouded Yellow I had been searching yet again for Wall Brown pupae. 2 days previous to this I had already seen my first adult Wall Brown of the year so I knew that there would certainly be pupae to find, but as ever, this stage is by far the most difficult to find and in all the years I have searched for them I have only found around a dozen. As it was the very first tussock I searched I found a pupa. At the time I thought it looked shorter and rounder than any I had found before so when I got home I checked the books and found that it was a Speckled Wood pupa, the first one I have seen.

Speckled Wood pupa

The following day I took Lisa to show her the pupa and she then set about trying to find her own so we actually spent a large amount of time looking, to no avail, apart from finding some lovely Marbled White larvae each and several moth larvae, until we were just about to give up and I spotted a Wall Brown pupa tucked safely away in an area where I have found them before. By now the light was pretty much gone so I followed up with a visit the following morning with the sun shining on the pupa.

Wall Brown pupa.

As already mentioned I had by this time seen my first Wall Brown adult of the year. With the cold easterly winds most species on the site were well behind when they would normally be on the wing so it was a very big surprise seeing one at more or less the average date for the first sighting.


Male Wall Brown. The first for Sussex in 2023. 20th April.

The rare moth Barred Tooth-striped is only found in a few areas where established Wild Privet grows. Last year I caught some on my patch which was the first record for the site. I set the pheromone trap just the once this year to check the colony was still about and I was pleased to get one on the same morning that I photographed the Wall Brown pupa. It's always good to find rare species on my patch, especially this one as several people had told me it almost certainly wouldn't be there!!

Barred Tooth-striped.

The great thing about all these sightings were that they were on my patch which is easily in walking distance to home!!

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