Just popped up to the laundry shed with Aimée, allegedly to see if the clothes were dry yet, but actually on a mission to look for moths. It's a relatively mild night here right now (9 degrees, feels like 6 and just a light southerly airflow) and there's a very light mizzle going on too. Nice, we simply had to skore. No moths on the white walls beneath the security lights, though Aimée managed to find several Tree Slugs (Lehmannia marginata) and a few flies that I (rather sensibly) declined to pot up.
Up at the laundry shed I found a long dead Magpie Moth (Abraxas grossulariata) in a cobweb and then spotted a gorgeous Mottled Umber (Erranis defoliaria) sat low on the wall inside the building. I papped a few shots, potted it up and released it on the wall outside. This was the ungainly landing position
|Mottled Umber - this is a male. The females are wingless.|
So, moffs are finally off the starting blocks this year! Took 'em over two weeks, but always a thrill seeing these midwinter species turning up like silent phantoms out of the cold. Beats me why they fly this time of year as opposed to summer (no predatory bats I guess) but they certainly brighten up a gloomy time of year.
Mottled Umber is my 231st species of the year for NG3963. I've enrolled in Andy Musgrove's mad 1000 species in a 1km square challenge which may or may not be a clever idea. So far there are only three of us taking part, but I know a few more are lining up getting ready to join the fray. I managed 800 species in 2013 but quit after moving house in July. I have no idea if I can see 1000 species this far north, Surrey woodland seems so much easier by contrast.