I’ve been spending some time searching for waxcap mushrooms (Hygrocybe) whilst in West Wales. Today, I looked in the graveyard of the small chapel at Berea, near St Davids and I found something interesting.
Large White Butterfly (Pieris brassicae)
On some of the gravestones, there were a number of chrysalises, tucked into recesses in the stonework.
Gravestone at Berea, West Wales.
Species of moths and butterflies can over-winter as adults, eggs, larvae or pupe, depending on the species. The large white spends the winter as a pupa.The area around St Davids is often windy, being flat and very close to the sea, and the pupae were on the sheltered sides of the gravestones.
Each one was held in place by what looks like a single strand of silk. I don’t know whether this is really a single strand or is made from lots of individual strands.
The weather has been a bit cool but I have put out the moth trap on a couple of nights this week. There was a threat of some overnight drizzle, so I used my usual arrangement of a tripod and umbrella to protect the mercury vapour bulb, which might shatter if exposed to rain.
The catch was much lower than I would expect on a summer night, only two moths on each occasion. The first night produced early grey and a male muslin moth. The second night gave another early grey and a powdered quaker.
Clockwise from left: Early Grey, Muslin Moth and Powdered Quaker
All of the three are common but it was the first time that I had caught powdered quaker in my garden. This brings the total number of macro-moths found in the garden to 89 but I think there is further to go because I regularly log new species.
Pyramidal, common spotted and a hybrid orchid were in flower on the plateau at Townclose Hills Nature Reserve, also known as Billy Woods.
Despite the breeze we saw ringlet, meadow brown, small tortoiseshell, small skipper and a few marbled white butterflies. Six-spot burnet moths were also active and a hebrew character moth lurked amongst the grasses.
Hybrid orchid, pyramidal orchid, grater knapweed, hoary plantain.
One of the smallest orb-web spiders, Araniella curcurbitina, was making its way across a grassy path. It’s Latin name, curcurbitina, means ‘a little member of the gourd family’; its bright green and yellow striped abdomen looks like a water melon or gourd. It has a scarlet patch on its underside.
Restharrow, clustered bellflower, wild marjoram.
We spotted a brown hare in a field in the valley of Kippax Brook to the west of the reserve.
Townclose Hills, Kippax, is a Leeds City Council Local Nature Reserve managed by the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.
The moth trap regularly brings in species that I have not seen previously in my garden. Last night, a new species was the satin moth (Leucoma salicis).
White satin moth
At first glance, this is similar to the yellow-tailed moth (Euproctis similis) but there are several differences, including size.
Another new species seen was campion (Sideridis rivularis).
The vapourer moth is very common but it hasn’t turned up in my moth trap until last night. This species has flightless females.
Recently, I’ve been making the effort to identify some of the tiny micro-moths. Starting on the left and moving clockwise, the following picture shows bee moth (Euzophera pinguis), golden brown tubic (Crassa unitella) and gold triangle (Hypsopygia costalis).
The bee moth is one of several species that cause problems for beekeepers by damaging the combs in beehives when they are in storage. The larvae of the golden-brown tubic feed on fungi and dead bark, whilst the larvae of the gold triangle feed on dry vegetable matter, such as hay and straw.