Saturday, 25 February 2017

Spring Usher

After finding a fresh specimen of a Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) at rest on the door frame of a local garden centre yesterday, I was moved to put the moth trap out last night, even though the overnight forecast wasn't ideal. The ultra-violet light attracted my first two moths of the year, one of which was a Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaearia). Like some of its close relatives, the female of this species is flightless and the wing markings on the male can be subject to much variation.
Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaearia) (males)
Last night's specimen.
The next two images are of the same specimen taken in 2009.

This image was taken in 2012.


Monday, 20 February 2017

Frog on the Move

The mild spell over this last week has seen me spending several days working in the wood. Most of the coppicing for this winter is now done but the task of thinning, stacking and rhododendron clearance carries on. There is always time for a relaxing walk through the trees when the muscles are getting a bit tired.
At the weekend, I came across a Common Frog (Rana temporaria) moving across the woodland floor and clearly on a mission to get to its breeding pond.
Common Frog (Rana temporaria)
I also found this interesting looking fungus. I think that it is probably an Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina) although this specimen was growing on a dead stem of willow. 
Oak Mazegill (Daedalea quercina)

Earlier in the week, Carol found the shed antler of a Fallow Deer laying on the ground near one of their regular rutting sites.
Fallow Deer (Dama dama) (shed antler) 

I saw my first butterfly of the year back on 16th January in the form of a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) flying around the car park at Birling Gap. I've yet to see any others but I did come across a very early queen Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) flying across a local Wealden meadow.
Common Wasp (Vespula vulgaris) (queen emerged from hibernation)