Saturday 11 August 2012

Four wings instead of two 11 August 2012

Lets face it it's a dead time for birds although waders now appear to be moving through and are appearing at Port Meadow and Otmoor, when you can see them! I met up late with Badger who was recovering from one of his Stella Friday nights so it was a mid morning start at Otmoor as we meandered around looking for Dragonflies to video and photo. Mind you I had been up since five emptying my moth trap. Obsessive moi! Surely not! No helicopters but another good haul which kept me occupied for a couple of hours identifying them before heading for Otmoor. My wife bless her became very concerned about the cobwebs around the back door (we live in a very old house and spiders just love our architecture) through which the night's captives were released by yours truly, thinking they would get entangled and Incy would devour them. She attacked the webs with some gusto using an Ostrich feather duster we obtained in Zimbabwe some years ago to clear the way. I knew it would come in useful someday. Otmoor as far as dragonflies were concerned proved disappointing. We found a male Black tailed Skimmer which did pose for us but the two Emperors we found just cruised around and never came to rest. What superb insects they really are and very, very territorial. They even buzzed lumps of thistle down blowing across their chosen pond. I wandered off to walk along the Roman Road while Badger chased dragonflies along the bridleway towards Noke. In the sheltered parts of the Roman Road there was a good selection of the commoner butterflies Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Brimstone, Comma and Peacock but sadly no sign of any Brown Hairstreaks. Badger suggested we go and try to see Keeled Skimmers at Parsonage Moor - a BBOWT Reserve. After wandering around for a while we eventually found a male patrolling a tiny acidic pond. This quite made my day as I had never seen one before. There are other unusual dragons and damsels here and I am pretty certain I saw some Southern Damselflies in the same pond but by now the early start with the moths was having an effect and I was flagging badly. We called it a day and I headed home via the Merry Miller pub conveniently and very temptingly directly opposite the reserve car park. Only a shandy mind you. No Stella!

                           Some Dragonflies and Butterflies on Otmoor and Parsonage Moor

Ruddy Darter male
Black-tailed Skimmer male
Black-tailed Skimmer male
Broad-bodied Chaser male
Keeled Skimmer male                                            
Common Fro
OK I just know you cannot wait any longer to hear what I caught in my moth trap so here it is:
Poplar Hawk Moth; Common Footman; Scarce Footman; Bird Cherry Ermine - its tiny!; Swallow Prominent; Large Yellow Underwing; Lesser Broad bordered Yellow Underwing; Autumnal Rustic; Common Rustic; Heart and Dart; Single Dotted Wave; Riband Wave; Cream Wave; Marbled Beauty; Marbled Green; Willow Beauty; Shaded Broad Bar; Common Carpet; Red Twin Spot Carpet; Large Twin spot Carpet; Purple Thorn; Early Thorn; Coronet or was it?; Yellowtail; Flame Shoulder and Spectacle. There were also loads of micro moths but life is just too short. Really!

Coronet? Superbly camouflaged whatever it is
 The Stealth Fighter of moths
Early Thorn
Purple Thorn

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