Monday, 4 May 2020

COVID19 List - Days 32 to 40

Late additions

276. [A sawfly] Blennocampa phyllocolpa - a tiny sawfly that has proved to be common in the garden. It lays its eggs on garden roses, and the leaves roll round into tight tubes to protect the larvae after they hatch.

Saturday 18th April 2020

277. Grey-patched Mining Bee Andrena nitida - one found inside, quite a large solitary bee with a rufous thorax contrasting with a blackish abdomen. The grey patches aren't quite so obvious.

Sunday 19th April 2020

278. Whitethroat Sylvia communis - another common summer visitor to the village, several sing on the common each year just across the road. Relatively infrequent in the garden itself.

279. White-headed Dwarf Elachista albifrontella - a micro-moth, found on the window, and I've seen it previously on the common too.

280. Small White Pieris rapae - common butterfly most years

281. Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urtica - another common butterfly, although numbers vary greatly between years.

282. Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing Noctua fimbriata - a common moth in the garden trap each year but this record is of the caterpillar, found on soil where we were digging our pond and identified using the newly available field guide (and kindly confirmed by Richard Lewington also!)

Monday 20th April 2020

283. Yellow-rattle Rhinanthus minor - not strictly garden tickable yet, as we spread seeds here last year from a local meadow. Excited today to find 24 small plants. We're very keen that they establish because they will then help to keep the coarser grasses down.

284. Yellow-shouldered Nomad Bee Nomada ferruginata - a couple of males were netted and examined closely.

285. [A hoverfly] Melanostoma mellinum - very common hoverfly

286. Feathered Leaf-cutter Incurvaria masculella - a very widespread small moth, caterpillars of which feed on rose and hawthorn.

Tuesday 21st April 2020

287. Dark Bush-cricket Pholidoptera griseoaptera - the first tiny nymphs of the year were seen in the garden today. These will continue to grow until adult by mid-July, then will call through until the first frosts of autumn.

288. Frosted Green Polyploca ridens - a regular moth in April and May, although usually in only small numbers. An oak feeder.

289. Swallow Prominent Pheosia tremula - common moth

290. Shuttle-shaped Dart Agrotis puta - a very common moth through much of the summer

291. The Nutmeg Dicestra trifolii - another common moth in the garden trap.

Wednesday 22nd April 2020

292. Lesser Whitethroat Sylvia curruca - another regular summer visitor, always arriving on Shotesham Common about this date.

293. [A sawfly] Aglaostigma fulvipes - appears to be a widespread sawfly, feeding on Cleavers which is abundant in the garden.

294. [A sawfly] Hoplocampa pectoralis - small sawfly, mostly yellow with some black. Feeds on hawthorn, and netted by this shrub along the drive.

295. Green Furrow Bee Lasioglossum morio - a widespread small bee with a shiny green sheen

296. Large White Pieris brassicae - last of the common white butterflies to appear in the garden this year.

Thursday 23rd April 2020

297. Nut-tree Tussock Colocasia coryli - two in the moth-trap tonight

298. Pale Prominent Pterostoma palpina - always such a stunning moth, will be coming off the willows here

299. Pebble Prominent Notodonta ziczac - another of the attractive prominents.

Friday 24th April 2020

300. Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula - several netted in the front garden, always the first dragonfly of the year.

301. Painted Nomad Bee Nomada fucata - another of these small wasp-like bees

302. [A sawfly] Halidamia affinis - fairly distinctive sawfly, black above (including dusky wings) and yellow under the abdomen. Another one that feeds on Cleavers.

Saturday 25 April 2020

303. [A hoverfly] Myathropa florea - one appeared by our newly filled pond and appeared to be egg-laying immediately

304. Brassica Shieldbug Eurydema oleracea - striking bug found on the Garlic Mustard

305. Vestal Cuckoo Bumblebee Bombus vestalis - huge female bee

306. Flame Shoulder Ochropleura plecta - another common moth in the light trap.

Sunday 26 April 2020

307. Red Twin-spot Carpet Xanthorhoe spadicearia - no moth-trap on tonight, but found one at the window nonetheless.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

COVID19 List - Days 25 to 31

Late additions

255. Tawny Mining Bee Andrena fulva - I forgot to add this, flying in the garden since 4th April. The females are the most easily identified of all the mining bees.

Saturday 11th April 2020

Decent walk around nearby lanes, hunting sawflies during my daily exercise. Didn't see much in the garden during the day, but a good moth-trap session.

256. Jay Garrulus glandarius - flew over this morning

257. Maple Slender Caloptilia semifascia - micro-moth in the trap, probably from the large Field Maples just over the road.

258. Common Mompha Mompha epilobiella - fairly non-descript small moth, but feeds on Great Willowherb which is common in the garden.

259. Garden Lance-wing Epermenia chaerophyllella - micro-moth, quite distinctive once you get to know it. By the way, I'm trying to make an effort to adopt the 'new' English names for micro-moths, but it's tricky when you've started out by learning the scientific ones (at at time when most didn't have English names). Not sure I like this one - what's lance-like about this wing in particular?

260. The Streamer Anticlea derivata - an always stunning moth, regular here in April.

261. Brindled Pug Eupithecia abbreviata - fairly non-descript moth, always one of the first pugs each year.

262. Water Carpet Lampropteryx suffumata - the first record of this species for the garden, think it's been increasing recently.

263. Waved Umber Menophra abruptaria - striking moth. Caterpillars feed on privet and lilac, so I guess may be coming off the latter in our front hedge.

264. Lunar Marbled Brown Drymonia ruficornis - a nice furry one, usually seen one or two each April.

265. Lesser Swallow Prominent Pheosia gnoma - relatively common moth in the garden

266. The Mullein Shargacucullia verbasci - stunning moth, one of my favourites and always pleased to see it in the spring. The caterpillars (on mullein, figwort and buddleia) later in the year are also very striking.

267. [A lacewing] Wesmaelius nervosus - a small brown lacewing, needs close examination for identification. A new species for me!

268. Great Silver Beetle Hydrophilus piceus - absolute brute of a beetle, one of the largest in Britain. I get these occasionally coming to the garden light-trap, but nationally this is quite a scarce insect, with the Norfolk Broads being one of its strongholds. It startled me somewhat as I was emptying the moth-trap in the morning as it buzzed up out of the surrounding vegetation and clambered around on top of a bush for a few minutes, before flying high off to the west.

Sunday 12th April 2020

269. Barn Owl Tyto alba - about time! Barn Owls are regularly seen from our garden, except when carrying out a lockdown list it would appear. Anyway, one deigned to quarter over the common this morning in front of the house. Here's a photo from a few weeks back.

Monday 13th April 2020

270. White-shouldered House-moth Endrosis sarcitrella - a regular denizen of our house, sometimes in worryingly large numbers but not so for a few years now.

Tuesday 14th April 2020

271. Grey Squirrel Sciurus carolinensis - another surprisingly late addition to the list, given that a few weeks ago we were having a running battle with one trying to stop it eating its way into the eaves.

Wednesday 15th April 2020

272. Muslin Moth Diaphora mendica - a nice fluffy male in the moth trap tonight.

Thursday 16th April 2020

273. [A sawfly] Cladius brullei - a small black sawfly netted along the drive. This species lays its eggs on Rubus, apparently especially raspberry but we don't have any of that so it would appear it's also quite content with brambles. Easy enough (with experience) to key to genus, but requires a slightly closer look to get to species. The shape of the sawsheath of the female is very distinctive under a microscope though.

274. [A gall-mite] Aceria campestricola - these little pimples on the newly emerged leaves of elms in our front hedge are caused by tiny mites of this species. (As to what species the elms are, that's for another day...)

Friday 17th April 2020

275. Green-veined White Pieris napi - a common butterfly around here.

That's a month (31 days) in lock-down then. Personally, not finding it very arduous but I do realise how lucky we are to have a nice garden and surrounding countryside. Would be struggling more if I was in a more built-up area.

Not really pushing this lock-down list very hard (I keep ignoring beetles that run past for examples!) but we'll keep going for a bit longer still...

Friday, 17 April 2020

COVID19 List - Day 24

Late additions

242. Wild Carrot Daucus carota - much debate has been had with a variety of botanists online concerning the identity of this 'weed' on my drive. I initially thought it might be Swinecress, but that's only a very superficial likeness (botanical equivalent of muddling up bees and flies I suppose!) Anyway, it turns out that I have a nice Wild Carrot growing here. The rest of the family have been instructed not to uproot it.

Friday 10th April 2020

243. Swallow Hirundo rustica - always a pleasure when these return; several pairs around the village but they don't nest on our own property.

244. Sloe Bug Dolycoris baccarum - a distinctive shield bug, common in the garden each year.

245. Woundwort Shieldbug Eysarcoris venustissimus - another common bug, slightly smaller, that seems to hang out on White Dead-nettle before the woundwort gets going in our garden. Here's a photo from a previous year.

246. [A sawfly] Ardis pallipes - a non-descript dark sawfly with pale legs, laying its eggs into the stem of a garden rose. Required close examination to confirm this - only the third county record of this species (I found the previous two about 5 miles away last year).

247. [A sawfly] Pristiphora armata - a small sawfly that is proving to be common around hawthorns in spring. Quite distinctive when you get your eye in - I don't have a photo yet.

248. [A parasitic wasp] Ichneumon stramentor - a striking wasp, most ichneumonids are not safely identifiable from photos but this is one of the rare exceptions. This will have been hunting for moth caterpillars to lay its eggs in.

249. Gooden's Nomad Bee Nomada goodeniana - a common "cuckoo-bee", one of several similar species but the only one with complete yellow bands on the abdomen.

250. 14-spot Ladybird Propylea quattuordecimpunctata - first one of these I've ever noticed in the garden, very distinctive

251. [A cranefly] Limonia nubeculosa - a common and distinctive cranefly, on the kitchen window

252. Marmalade Hoverfly Episyrphus balteatus - one of the commonest hoverflies in Britain each year.

253. Common Snout-hoverfly Rhingia campestris - distinctive long-"nosed" hoverfly

254. White-lipped Snail Cepaea hortensis - one found in the ruins of the destroyed shed that we're clearing to dig a pond in its place.

Thursday, 16 April 2020

COVID19 List - Days 20 to 23

Late additions

227. Common Mini-mining Bee Andrena minutula - very small bee found in back garden on 4th April, took a little while to identify with certainty

228. Fabricius' Nomad Bee Nomada fabriciana - another small bee, in garden on 5th April, more striking but still a few lookalikes that needed ruling out

229. [A hoverfly] Meliscaeva auricollis - a common early-spring hoverfly, one was caught in the garden on 5th April

Monday 6th April 2020

230. Hairy-templed Thatcher Demetrias atricapillus - one of the most distinctive ground beetles, which also has a most excellent English name.

231. Varied Carpet Beetle Anthrenus verbasci - one of the boys found one in their room. Never the most welcome of house guests but very attractive.

Tuesday 7th April 2020

232. House Martin Delichon urbicum - one of the main signs of spring at our house, as we're lucky enough to have between one and three nests on the house each year. Most years I probably miss their exact time of return, but given that I'm at home every day now, I'm pretty certain that the one I noticed outside (whilst taking part in a work video-conference) had indeed just got back from Africa.

233. Sallow Button Acleris hastiana - one of the many species of tortrix moth, hastiana is a reasonably distinctive species that over-winters as an adult and consequently can look a bit worn by this time of year. In the light-trap overnight.

Wednesday 8th April 2020

Saw several nice things around the village today but no new garden ticks.

Thursday 9th April 2020

234. Cinnamon Bug Corizus hyoscyami - a very distinctive bug that's been extending its range in recent years and is now quite common around the village.

235. Chocolate Mining Bee Andrena scotica - one of the larger members of the genus, this species seems to have a tendency to wander into the house each spring and get stuck inside the windows.

236. German Wasp Vespula germanica - a queen caught in the garden and examined closely. German and Common Wasps are (roughly) equally numerous and need close checking. Queens aren't too difficult, males are harder to separate.

237. [A hoverfly] Epistrophe eligans - another common spring-flying hoverfly.

238. Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria - large furry looking moth that's regular here in April each year.

239. Red Chestnut Cerastis rubricosa - fairly distinctive medium-sized moth in the light-trap each spring.

240. Great Prominent Peridea anceps - a great find in the light-trap, the first I've ever seen in the garden (and only my third anywhere). This big moth is quite widespread in Norfolk but the map of records on the excellent Norfolk Moths website shows it to be absent in the south-east of the county. This is the first record for the whole 10km square of TM29.

241. Emperor Moth Saturnia pavonia - a really striking moth, one of the largest that occur in the UK. This female was clearly attracted by the light-trap but I failed to spot it when checking it in the morning. Trudy noticed it when weeding nearby later in the day. My third garden record after previous occurrences in 2011 and 2015.

Saturday, 11 April 2020

COVID19 List - Day 19

Sunday 5th April 2020

204. Pine Ladybird Exochomus quadripustulatus - one found in the greenhouse

205. Skylark Alauda arvensis - heard singing from fields nearby

206. Common Mourning Bee Melecta albifrons - one buzzing around flowers on the drive, with a pollen-stained head like this one I photograped at the Nunnery a few weeks ago

207. Red Mason Bee Osmia bicornis - first one seen along the verge. This species breeds in our 'bee-hotel' but not seen any emerge yet.

208. [A sawfly] Cladius compressicornis - one female swept from ivy (below a hawthorn - the larval foodplant) on the drive. An all-black sawfly, fairly small with typically fast-flickering antennae. With experience, this is an easy genus to identify, but getting to species-level requires closer examination.

209. [A plant bug] Liocoris tripustulatus - common bug found around nettles.

210. [A weevil] Apion frumentarium - found on the front verge, one of a distinctive small group of red weevils, although determining which requires close examination. This species feeds on docks.

211. Wall Speedwell Veronica arvensis - a small plant on the front verge

212. Birch Catkin Bug Kleidocerys resedae - a small but distinctive bug, found wherever birches (and alder) occur.

213. [A centipede] Julus scandinavius - found under a log.

214. Thale Cress Arabidopsis thaliana - common, but just one plant found on the front verge

215. [A fly] Bibio johannis - common species at this time of year, close examination required to rule out other Bibio species.

216. Great Spotted Woodpecker Dendrocopos major - belated addition to the COVID list, one calling from next door.

217. Barnacle Goose Branta leucopsis - two flew over late afternoon, first picked up on call. These will be from the naturalised population in East Anglia, with previous evidence linking birds in Shotesham in summer to those found at Buckenham Marshes in winter.

218. [A lichen] Xanthoria parietina - very common lichen in most environments, noted here on front hedge

219. Lilac Syringa vulgaris - self-seeding in the front hedge

220. [A ground bug] Taphropeltus contractus - found whilst weeding

221. Early Thorn Selenia dentaria - moth-trap tonight, a common species

222. Double-striped Pug Gymnoscelis rufifasciata - one in the moth-trap

223. Powdered Quaker Orthosia gracilis - less numerous than some of the other earlier-flying Orthosia species, but regular in April here

224. Early Grey Xylocampa areola - another common moth-trap species in spring

225. Common Plume Emmelina monodactyla - very common micro-moth species anywhere that bindweed occurs

226. Scarce Alder Slender Caloptilia falconipennella - an occasional spring visitor to the moth-trap

Friday, 10 April 2020

COVID19 List - day 18

Saturday 4th April

191. Little Owl Athene noctua - one was calling nearby about 0500 (I was woken by the dog)

192. Fieldfare Turdus pilaris - two calling from trees in the back of the garden, pleasing to get after there had been hundreds nearby for weeks but I thought they'd now all gone for the summer.

193. [A weevil] - Liophloeus tessulatus - a fairly large weevil found in the back garden

194. "Torpedo Sawfly" Nematus lucidus - netted along the drive. This is a common sawfly around hawthorns and similar shrubs. With practice, it is also a distinctive species that does not need to be retained for microscopic examination.

195. [A ground bug] Lygus pratensis - a difficult genus but this seemed to key correctly.

196. [A leaf beetle] Bruchus rufimanus - distinctive beetle, keyed to rule out a few similar species. Feeds on broad bean crops.

197. [A leaf beetle] Longitarsus jacobaeae - small orange beetle, found whilst weeding. Required very close examination to confirm species.

198. [A dung beetle] Aphodius prodromus - a common species in spring, this one found whilst weeding.

199. Primrose Primula vulgaris - a single plant in the back garden

200. Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines - a welcome sign of spring, the males being particularly noticeable. Eggs are laid on Garlic Mustard and Honesty.

201. Brimstone Gonepteryx rhamni - another classic spring butterfly. Doesn't breed in the garden as we don't have any buckthorn or alder buckthorn.

202. [A centipede] Lithobius forficatus - a very common large centipede, this one found under a log

203. Common Pill Woodlouse Armadillidium vulgare - very common woodlouse, able to roll itself into a ball. Found under a log.

Monday, 6 April 2020

COVID19 List - days 13 to 17

Monday 30th March 2020

173. Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo - one flew over as I left the house for the morning dog-walk. Only my second record from the garden, so a lucky one to add.

174. Carrion Crow Corvus corone - overlooked until now

175. Common Flower Bug Anthocoris nemorum - very common bug encountered in the front garden

176. [A leaf beetle] Oulema duftschmidi - striking small colourful beetle, found resting on the front door. This species requires the most minute examination to rule out the similar O. melanopus.

177. [A hoverfly] Melanostoma scalare - a common small hoverfly with black face, yellow abdomen spots, long abdominal segments.

Tuesday 31st March 2020

178. Rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus - seen on the common from the house. My own rules allow birds and mammals seen 'from' the garden (not just in it) so on this goes. Additionally, the cat has brought several back recently also...

179. Herring Gull Larus argentatus - a pair flew along the common this morning

180. Rook Corvus frugilegus - realised I could see/hear birds nesting 500m down the common.

181. Magpie Pica pica - another belated addition of a very obvious species.

Wednesday 1st April 2020

182. Nuthatch Sitta europaea - a very surprising sighting of one hopping around on our patio whilst I was doing a video-chat with a colleague. They are resident at the other end of the village where the trees are older, but pretty scarce with us.

Thursday 2nd April 2020

183. Sticky Mouse-ear Cerastium glomeratum - a common but easily overlooked roadside plant, this on the verge

184. Common Chickweed Stellaria media - another extremely common small plant, with notable single row of hairs along the stem.

185. [A leaf beetle] Longitarsus dorsalis - tiny beetle snapped on the front verge and identified with pointers from others online. Several more seen in back garden a few days later. Should be sought under ragwort leaves.

186. [A leaf-mining fly] Cerodontha iridis - mines made by the larvae of this fly are often very evident in the leaves of Stinking Iris, as in the garden at the moment.

187. [A tick] Ixodes ricinus - taken from the cat's ear, fully keyed

188. Sexton Beetle Nicrophorus humator - large black beetle found (as usual) at moth-trap light tonight.

Friday 3rd April 2020

189. Blackcap Sylvia atricapilla - first one back in the garden this spring, this species will now be a major component of garden birdsong for months. Suspected to nest most years.

190. Brindled Flat-body Agonopterix arenella - a common over-wintering moth, often found at lit windows (as tonight) or disturbed from our log pile.