Hummingbird Hawkmoth

On the 16th and 17th September I noticed a Hummingbird hawkmoth on the flowers on my patio. I last saw one on holiday in the Dordogne. Are they usual in these parts? I did take a short video using my iPad some distance away. It disappeared as soon as I tried to get close with a camera!  PS the moth was visiting Ceratostigma flowers.

Pat Hogg

Thanks Pat, these moths arrive here from across the English Channel in varying numbers each year and can turn up literally anywhere. They are regularly seen in gardens due to their liking for flowers such as Red Valerian, Buddleia, and Verbena bonariensis. They tend to move on after one or two days as they are great travellers. I haven’t see one this year myself yet, though most years I manage to see at least one hovering around the flowers in the garden.

The last one to be reported in Westfield was in September 2015 – see here

Ralph

 

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Scarce micro moth

When I first saw this tiny moth it was flying in our bathroom [08.09.2016] and I suspected it was a ‘clothes moth’ that had found its way indoors from the birdbox just outside the open window! It then settled and I was about to swat it when I saw straight away it was the wrong shape and a dark purplish brown colour with yellow markings. I therefore captured it in a plastic pot to take a closer look.

Although I’m not so familiar with the micro-moths as the larger moths, I knew this was something I’d never seen before. Checking in the book ‘Field Guide to Micro moths of Great Britain and Ireland’ there was only one species it could be – Metalampra italica. The illustration below is from the book, where it is described as “Very local. First found in Britain in 2003, otherwise only known from Italy” – hence the species name. The larva lives “under the bark of dead trees and shrubs; in a slight web”.

I then looked in Colin Pratt’s volume 4 of ‘A Complete History of the Butterflies and Moths of Sussex’ and on page 103 he also says italica is scarce (in Sussex), and originally believed to have come into the UK via the horticultural trade (to Devon in 2003). It first appeared in Surrey in 2007, in both east Kent and W Sussex in 2011, and in west Kent and E Sussex in 2012, and is probably now resident here. The map and text below (click to enlarge) is from Colin’s book and shows all Sussex records up to the end of 2014. Clearly the last sentence in the text is now well out of date!

I submitted the record with two photos via ‘iRecord’ and I am pleased to say Colin Pratt the official recorder for all Lepidoptera in Sussex has now verified my record. I suspect we will be seeing more and more of this late summer species now that it has a foothold here in the UK.

Ralph

Small Tortoiseshell butterflies

We have had an email from Butterfly.Conservation@cmp.dotmailer.co.uk asking for recent sightings of  Small Tortoiseshell butterflies.

“Concern is growing as sightings of this previously common butterfly are significantly down across the UK.

The Small Tortoiseshell is an easy species to identify. The butterfly’s uniquely patterned orange and black wings are framed with a border of small blue crescents.

Small Tortoiseshell populations plummeted by 73% since the 1970s, but its numbers have risen over the last few years and hopes were high that it was on the path to recovery.

But this summer’s poor showing could mean the species is set for yet more years of decline.

We’re not sure what is causing the long-term decline of this familiar and much-loved butterfly. Theories involve climate change, pollution and parasitic flies that kill the butterfly’s caterpillars, but we need more information”.

Please submit your Small Tortoiseshell sightings to Westfield Wildlife, sightings are also welcome from outside the Westfield parish boundary.

Thank you.

Dave &  Ralph

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Glow-worms

4/7/2016  One of 7 different Glow-worms found late last night in Whiteland Wood. They were all in short vegetation alongside the path through the area cleared of conifers.

Only the females glow which is their means of attracting a flying male out of the air to mate with.

 

I prefer the photo without flash, but it’s not easy holding the camera dead still for a whole second!

Was also hoping for Nightjar, but no luck. Maybe next year a pair will find this new habitat to their liking?

Ralph

Poplar Hawkmoth

3/7/16  Have just found this Poplar Hawkmoth resting on a geranium.

Libby

20160703_112331 Libby

Critters in the garden

Having seen an insect flying around our property I quickly got the camera, and when I returned outside this was on the shed door. DSC_0545

This is a species of sawfly known as a Wood Wasp. More about these insects can be seen here http://insects.about.com/od/antsbeeswasps/tp/Sawflies-Horntails-And-Wood-Wasps.htm  Neither myself or Ralph have ever seen one of these in Westfield.

The next photos are of a Green Shieldbug  DSC_0547DSC_0548

DSC_0546

This was seen on our kitchen window. More about Shieldbugs can be seen here http://www.letsgowild.co.uk/wildlife-fact/green-shield-bug. Also this might be of interest from Tone Killick.

Observations of Palomena prasina eggs.

Dave

Hope this is of interest to you all. If you see any strange insects or anything unusual please try and take photos and send to  Westfield Wildlife for sharing. Thank you.

Dave — Ralph

Hackberry Woolly Aphid

Having no idea what I was looking at, I discovered this beautiful and unusual mobile fluff was in fact an insect called an Asian Hackberry Woolly Aphid Shivaphis celti. It seemed unpicky on its choice of lunch and wafted from plant to plant. It even let me hold it and take photos. Never have I seen anything like it before.

IMG_20160605_104451Dan Stratford

For further reading please visit http://ipm.ucanr.edu/PMG/PESTNOTES/pn74111.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vapourer moth

13407714_10156971766915133_1497218681_nPhoto of a Vapourer moth caterpillar received from Dan Stratford recently.

This Vapour is seen on a Lupin leaf but they will also feed on the foliage of many other plants.

For more information please visit – http://butterfly-conservation.org/51-1793/vapourer.html

Out for a walk

Friday June 10th
The Common Spotted Orchids shown in the photos are to the right of the 1066 Path just beyond the first footbridge towards the A21.
There are a number of Broad-leaved Helleborines in the wood beyond the pond on the 1066 Path to Brede. It was while looking at these plants that a brilliant metallic blue Beautiful Demoiselle landed nearby.
 When I arrived home a pair of Painted Lady butterflies were on a Valerian plant.
20160605_120959a
Saturday June 11th
I wanted to look at the orchids again. Just as I left the footbridge a family of Bullfinches flew low in front of me. There were at least three youngsters.
I noticed two small birds rising into the air apparently having a spat. It was a female Linnet and a Willow Warbler (I think). The Linnet returned to an Alder tree. Through the binoculars I watched the warbler approach the Linnet & then make a lunge at it. They then flew upwards having a tussle. I watched these antics for at least 20 minutes.
A male Reed Bunting was singing sweetly on top of a Hawthorn bush all the time I was watching the Linnet & warbler.
Just as I reached the stile at Sprays Bridge I heard what sounded like the clink of pebbles. I knew this was the alarm call of Blackap. Sure enough there was a male Blackcap in a bush. I waited around & then spotted the female in an Oak tree.
Libby

Common Soldier beetle

Saw this on the front of our bungalow trying to climb up the window.  Ralph told me it is a Common Soldier beetle Cantharis rustica, also known as a Bonking beetle!  I have never seen one before.

Dave

 

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    WESTFIELD WILDLIFE has been created for Westfield residents and visitors to submit news and photos of any wildlife observed in the Parish. We also aim to post our own sightings and topical wildlife news as often as time allows.

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