Friday, 11 July 2014

Field trip report West Yatton Down near Chippenham

Wednesday 2nd July 2014

Leaders: Maurice Avent, Hugo Brooke and Paul Wilkins

On the warmest day of the year to date fourteen members made an early start to open not just one but four moth traps set the previous night by Maurice in a beautiful valley owned and managed by him at West Yatton Down near Chippenham.
Lilac Beauty
The catch was excellent with well over sixty different species of macro moths alone, the highlights of which were Privet, Poplar and Elephant Hawk-moths, Drinker Moth, Coxcomb and Pebble Prominent, Lobster Moth, Lilac Beauty, Short-cloaked Moth and The Campion as well as what was probably a Hoary Footman (to be confirmed).  Micro moths of note included the Ash Bud Moth (Prays fraxinella), Tortrix moth Ancylis achatana which was numerous and the Crescent Plume (Marasmarcha lunaedactyla).

        Dark Green Fitillary                                                    Small Skippers

After opening, inspecting and recording all the moths in each trap, save a few escapees, Maurice led  a butterfly walk around the valley which followed his normal Butterfly Transect route. With the sun shinning and the temperatures rising we certainly didn't need to walk far before we had seen at least a dozen butterfly species, including the Dark Green and Silver-washed Fritillaries which were cruising up and down the woodland edge and hedgerow in search of a mate.  Small and Essex Skippers were nectaring on the Birds-foot Trefoil and Red Clover and a mating pair provided a good photo opportunity.  There were numerous, although mostly quite worn Meadow Brown's and the odd Ringlet.  A few first generation Brown Argos and Common Blue were still present but were now at the end of their flight period.

Other species included Large skipper, Tortoiseshell, Green-veined and Small White, Small Heath and Comma.

A total of 19 species of butterfly were recorded during the walk as well as Six-spot Burnet, Black-neck and Nettle-tap moths, a large Southern Hawker dragon-fly and a Common Darter dragonfly were seen patrolling the woodland ride at the end of the walk.

Thank to Paul Wilkins

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