Clear, warm and a lot calmer than it has been overnight, and good conditions I hoped for the moth trap. It was then with a lot of anticipation that I looked in this morning, and I wasn't disappointed. There were two new moths for the garden, two spectacular moths and two that despite my best efforts I can't confirm identification so once again any help would be appreciated.
First up was this Coronet, a lovely collection of green, black and grey, and a first for the garden.
Next an old favourite, but seen from a different angle, the Large Yellow Underwing.
Another newbie, the Shoulder-striped Wainscot
The the first of two Elephant Hawkmoths. The first looks as if it has been fighting or escaping the attention of a predator, as the thorax is damaged
There was though a second which was in better condition.
They appeared small, and at first I thought they were Small Elephants, but the stripe down the abdomen is characteristic of the larger Elephant Hawkmoth.
After the excitement of the hawkmoths came the frustration of the the two I cannot confirm identification on. Potentially two new moths.
One of the possibilities of this one is the Garden Dart but I am not certain.
I can't find anything similar to this one.
It was a warm and sunny morning, and by lunchtime quite warm, so I decided to continue the Lepidoptera theme and go an look for butterflies in the meadow and wood.
First stop was the meadow between Alton and Blackberry lane. I walked down the footpath but was only able to find a few Meadow Browns. Their numbers are beginning to increase and this one was enjoying the clover flowers.
I had hoped to find some Common Blues, but the long grass didn't seem to be the place, so I went into the orchid field. Again there were plenty of Meadow Browns, but no sign of any blues. The orchids though continue to look quite stunning.
I walked around disturbing browns, but then at last I found a male Common Blue in the low grass. It looks very tatty and this is probably an indication as to why they have become difficult to find, they must be reaching the end of the first flying period.
It flew about a little, settling again on a buttercup.
Happy that I had finally managed to get one to stay still, I left the field and returned to the meadow. The Meadow Browns continued to flit away from my feet, but a smaller flyer caught my eye, and it settled on a long strand of grass. I believe this to be a Garden Grass Veneer moth
Finally I came across another butterfly, yet another Small Tortoiseshell, but this one did show the underwing very well, and casts it as a completely different butterfly.
I left the meadow, and drove to the pond where I left the car to go into Old Down. Before I did though I walked around the pond. The Tadpoles are growing well, and many are now showing two hind legs. As soon as the front ones arrive their lungs will have developed the Toad tadpoles will be off, while the frogs may stay.
There were plenty of Azure Damselflies around the sunny bank, but it was this Red Admiral that caught my eye.
From the pond I walked to the wood, stopping to check the brambles that are now in flower. Amongst the bees were two Meadow Browns and another Tortoiseshell on the emrging flowers, but the verge alongside the field is developing nicely for the Marbled Whites a little later in the month.
I decided to walk the open rides in the wood. First off were more Meadow Browns, it won't be long before I am fed up with seeing them. On the main path towards the west I found two Speckled Woods. One decided to sit nicely.
From the west path I took the diagonal through the open patch. I wondered if the wood would prove an attraction but all I found was another Red Admiral. Back along the path to the crossroads, and then ot towards the east, only to turn towards the Kitwood entrance. This was the area in which I found White Admiral last year amongst the bramble, but this year maybe a little too early. There was though a Longhorn Beetle, which looked quite spectacular.
A Goldcrest was singing in Morris's old tree, but apart from that it was quiet. I took the perimeter path back to the cottage entrance. The clearing of the trees has made this part very light, and the floor is very green with grass, bracken and bramble.
Back at the pond an Emperor Dragonfly was hawking around the lily pads. This is a poor shot I know, but a record of the first this year.
Similar conditions tonight so I will try the trap again, but in a different location, you never know what the Butterfly Collector might find