Monday, 1 August 2016

Ness Woods, Derry

The day was organised by Butterfly Conservation (NI) and moth traps had been set the previous night. I went along to lend a hand and see what I could find.

We had hoped to see Purple Hairstreak, which is associated with old Oak woodland, and it is known to favour tree tops when the temperature has risen in sunlight. The day was rather overcast, with a few rain showers, but the sun did break out at one point. We were observing the tops of Oaks at the time and we did see a couple of blue-tinted fliers at the very top of high trees during the brief sunny period. They might have been Purple Hairstreak, but even those with binoculars couldn't give a firm id. We scouted around and found a few vantage points high in the valley which gave good close views of Oak summits, but at that time the sun had gone. Maybe next time.

I did, however, find a few interesting mines that were new to me.

First is Amauromyza labiatarum on Hedge Woundwort:

Amauromyza labiatarum on Hedge Woundwort

Then I noticed mines on smaller leaves of Oak which reminded me strongly of the very common Orchestes fagi miner found on Beech. Turns out it's the very closely-related beetle Orchestes quercus:

Orchestes quercus on young Oak leaves
The point marked 'A' is the oviposition scar on the underside of the midrib.

The final new mine for me was Phyllonorycter coryli on Hazel: 

Phyllonorycter coryli on Hazel
This is quite an atypical mine for a Phyllonorycter: most of the others make a tentiform mine made by creasing the underside of the mine to tighten and shrink it, which buckles the top surface of the mine. An example is shown here

En route I found plenty of specimens of Sulphur Tuft, so I guess the fungal season is about to kick off:

Sulphur Tuft on a conifer stump