Minor triumphs

In the last 2 days I have added 3 minor triumphs to my wildlife achievements list.

Today I found a moth in my garden that is described on the Hants Moths site as “Rare (proposed as a future Red Data Book species) on chalk downland in parts of southern England.” The moth in question is this one, Grapholita caecana.Grapholita caecana7mm of rarity. The 6th county record we believe. Firstly it is such a dull looking thing that at 7mm it is the sort of thing that I might ordinarily dismiss. However with a target (guideline) of 1,000 species in a year I have to look at pretty much everything. After much thumbing of the book and trawling of websites I had identified it as one of 2 species and one of those was indeed Grapholita caecana. I made the mistake of thinking ‘it can’t be because Grapholita caecana is rare’.  Then deep joy when the powers that be declared it correct. The bunting came out but luckily didn’t eat the moth. With moths like this there is a strong possibility that it is not rare but simply under-recorded. There are not too many of us ‘doing’ moths and of those a fair number would have looked at this one and been tempted to pass it over. Still, it is nice to see it on the list as number 187.

The second triumph was not a moth but a friendly wasp. I found it sitting outside our front door. I commanded Mrs. Ha to fetch me a pot and the result was this, a female Amblyteles armatoriusAmblyteles armatoriusThis is an ichneumon wasp and I have no idea whether she is common as much or a mega-rarity. All I know is that she is a new garden ‘tick’ and a very welcome addition.

My final triumph was to see Mr. Woody feeding the youngsters. Sadly they are still in the nest but here is your daily woody picture.MrWoodyWhat was new today was how he fed the youngsters. As far as I could tell, Mr. Woody lacks basic table manners. He sits outside the hole, throws his head back, flexes his throat a little and regurgitates the food to the trainee woodies inside the hole. I hope they can catch well.

So there we are. Three wildlife ‘discoveries’ to cheer me up on a day when once again the main preoccupation in our lives was the state of the drains. I watched with mixed emotions as the camera went through all the pipes showing me what our predecessors had managed to lodge in places they should not be lodged. Latex floor covering, rubble, grease, detergent (congealed), small children, a teddy bear and several UKIP members. I think that on the whole, moths are preferable.

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31 thoughts on “Minor triumphs

  1. Yes, I thought of you today, you know. There’s been a very tiny moth affixed to our screen door here at work. Hasn’t moved in hours. I wonder if he’s still alive but then, he is sticking on. As for the wasps, had a rather unpleasant encounter with those when they chose to live in one of the houses we used to live in. That one may be friendly but they sure scare the bejesus out of me!

  2. I so enjoy these happy moments – moths, wasps and woodies. We had one too today. The martins have come back… or another lot have arrived. The May martins took up residence in the one nest and started rebuilding one of the others… then left. Today the air is teeming with them, they have re-occupied and are building and perching all over our roof-boards and the next-door neighbours (not sure what they’ll say when their newly painted wall gets its martin-poo decorations down the line.

    • We hoped for martins but have remained without them and no swallows either. You are very lucky. The Chinese believe swallows nesting on your property is good luck and I expect that includes martins too.

  3. Fascinating to read about how Mr Woody feeds his little ones. Can’t wait to see the latter sometime soon! What strange things the previous occupants let slip into the pipes – a teddy bear?!

  4. Who would have thought the world of moths could so interesting. Thank you for enriching us, Andrew. You would in heaven here in Bali be. (Sorry) getting the hang of using this ,device,. Problem is that the keyboard takes too much space on the screen.

  5. Am enjoying the Woody series and am hoping you’re able to capture the fledge. Not so excited about the wasp. We’ve just had two nests removed from our loft – I hope that doesn’t put me in an exclusion zone but I’m not mad about the creatures in the house …

  6. Congratulations on the rarity tick, Andrew. Should you make it to a thousand I am sure there will be another or three.
    So any day now that hole should have a few eagerly hungry heads filling it. I hope you are fortunate enough to witness that and, possibly, snag a shot to share with us.
    It is quite amazing the things people can deposit in places where they should not be.

  7. My hubby is a plumber and tells me many stories about what he finds in drains. .. Some funny some scary!
    Congrats on the moth! I often second guess myself when thinking something is rare and thus can’t be what I’m looking at.
    Thanks for the woody update also! Can’t wait to see the little ones.

  8. An excellent find of your Grapholita caecana. I know exactly what you mean about it’s rarity value. I was surprised to record my Bluebell Conch, only the fifth county record this century but then Tortrix moths all look pretty similar and if you don’t happen to get it on the food plant and then submit it to the proper experts… There are probably hundreds, thousands, that don’t get recorded. Still it feels good to get one.

    I am not a Mother, there is just too much else to do. Mother? Say “Moffer” I think this is the correct term. Back in the 60’s I used to watch a lot of “Hell’s Angel” movies and surprisingly there was a lot of interest in lepidoptery in those days but that happens.

    Our GSW juveniles are all over the place and feeding themselves. I missed that fledging and hope that you have better luck. I don’t know where mine nest. Hope that you get some pictures 🙂

    Best wishes my friend.

    • I should look for Bluebell Conch next year. Torts can be tricky, especially the Olethreutinae. Some though give us a decent chance. I think we will be in HK when the peckers fledge. They are very noisy now so maybe we will be lucky. Fingers crossed.

  9. You know, I never even thought about moths until I started reading your blog (or, rather, until you returned to the UK and started writing about them). You have expanded my horizons, Andrew – thank you!

    And Mr Woody looks a bit glum – perhaps all that baby feeding is getting him down …

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