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Two new moth species for Raw Nook NR…

Yesterday I managed to add two new moth species to our Raw Nook list of species. Both were found by gently tapping shrubs whilst holding my net underneath which if lucky a moth may fall into the net, ID and released.


Firstly there was the unmistakable Acleris emargana which was found low down in a Hazel bush.

This moth appears not to be common in our area but common in the the UK.

The last record was at Caldene fields 1/9/2015.

The second moth was Lathronympha strigana.

Interestingly this COULD be the same moth I caught at Caldene fields earlier in the year on the 22/7/2020.

As that moth was a site first for our area.

Changing the subject to birds….I have noticed a steady movement of Lesser Black Backed gulls through our area in recent days. And I was surprised to notice that on the nearby cricket fields there must have been around 60 mainly juvenile birds feeding which is unusual so early in August. There was ago a juvenile male Blackcap moving through Caldene fields…Sorry but all signs that autumn is not far away..

Three welcome surprises…

Today whilst checking the moth trap today there was a rather large strange visitor lurking in one of the egg boxes.

It was a Nicrophorus investigator beetle which is a SITE FIRST. They are scavengers, living off and breeding in rotten carcasses. They have a very good sense of smell and are reputed to be able to smell a carcass up to two miles away.

So in other words helping to keep us humans safe from diseases by cleaning up!

Then on top of the trap I found 3 small Ladybirds. Two 10 Spot Ladybirds – Adalia decempunctata which I have only recorded once at Low M Banks.

The third Ladybird was a 2 Spot – Adalia bipunctata which is a new species for our area…which is great news!

The last surprise was a Brown Hawker dragonfly seen at LM Banks yesterday which was also a site first!

Lots of Southern’s in Low Moor…

So far it has been an excellent year for the Southern Hawker dragonfly in our area.

In the last few days I have recorded 9 freshly emerged insects, with 5 noted today at Caldene Fields.

They seem to love garden ponds so keep at eye out for them as the larva crawls out of the water usually on to a plant stem.

The larva gradually breaks open in the middle of the case and the beautiful dragonfly emerges.

It then pumps blood into it’s wing and once the wings are fully open the insect will flies off to find a mate.

As normal around the first week in August young migrant birds start to move away form their breeding grounds as they prepare for autumn migration. So it was interesting to note a wandering juvenile Willow warbler at Caldene fields today.

All smiles from Low Moor Banks…

Received some excellent news about the possible Dark Mullein – Verbascum nigrum at Low Moor Banks from Joan Dobson ( Botanist) of BEES.

She has confirmed that the plant is indeed a Dark Mullein and stated ‘ What a record for the site!). It also bring the total of species identified at LMB to 150….

I also had some good news on the moth front with a second known record for our area of a Coxcomb Prominent – Ptilodon capucina

The beautiful but strange looking Coxcomb Prominent

It maybe a ‘Dark’ at Low Moor Banks…

Today I took my lure to the area where I have previously attracted the Six-belted Clearwing moth at Low Moor Banks. This area is near to Dealburn Road where there is an abundance of Bird-foot Trefoil however, the weather was dull and cool, not the kind of weather the moths like. Hence I didn’t attract any.

However, I started explore more around this area and just beyond some Goat Willows I found what I first thought was a Great Mullein – Verbascum thapsus. However, something just seems different about it so I took some photos of the actual flowers, leaves and stem.

And it could be Dark Mullein Verbascum nigrum! which is uncommon in the north and would be a new species for the site.

I have asked Joan Dobson of BEES for her opinion.

I also found a Bee Orchid in poor condition which is possibly one of the two found earlier in the month.

I have to say the lovely Hedge Woundwort Stachys sylvatica (left) is one of my favorite wild flowers with it’s orchid like flowers. And half way up the main path just on the right there is about six just ready to burst into flower.

Also showing off was the large clump of Tansy Tanacetum vulgare. Now the rare Tansy beetle who’s preferred food is the Tansy (But only by water) is only recorded at two UK site!

Is that a beetle I see in the middle of the plant?……Stop dreaming Martyn….

Tansy Without the Tansy Beetle!

A bit of a puzzler…

I went up to Low Moor Banks today armed with my sweep net. I was mainly looking for moths, butterflies and the two Bee orchids which were seen last week.

Sadly I didn’t see any orchids but I recorded 4 male Common Blue butterflies and found 2 yet to be identified micro moths.

However, whist sweeping in some tall grass I found a small beetle…

On closer inspection I thought a Ladybird species…but then thought ” Iv’e not seen one like that before!

I did some research and still nothing fell into place…even thought it must not be a ladybird…But then an image came up of the 10 Spot Ladybird – Adalia decempunctata. Yes I asked the same question..Where are the spots…

Well it is a 10 Spot but of the form ” bimaculata ” And the good news is that this nationally common ladybirds is a new species not only for LMB but for RN and TH Beck as well.

Recent upsurge…

During the last few months I have noticed a welcome upsurge in local and non local people visiting Raw Nook NR. In addition some have been interested in our wildlife and have stopped for a chat.

I have been asked some really interesting questions like… What’s the red and black moths ( Burnet moths ) that I keep seeing flying in the meadow? Is there bats in this area? and What’s that dark brown butterfly with little circles on it’s wings ( Ringlet). And Oh! what’s happened to the pond? ( probable leak)

This interest is great to see and long may it continue.

I had a lovely sight yesterday when a female Southern Hawker dragonfly emerged from the pond and settled on a nearby plant to dry. It stay still in the sunshine for about an hour before flying off over Caldene fields.

A late telephone surprise…

I’m a firm believer in the saying ” Each to their own” and my knowledge of botany is well…OK. However, when I heard some of my botany friends were thinking of doing some survey work at Low Moor Banks…I thought excellent knowing them they will increase the species list for the site.

The weather however, was not kind as it was cool and dull. But the most important issue of the day was that social distancing was maintained throughout.

Joan and Alice two experts enjoying the day…

We had only moved a few metres when the very knowledgeable Joan Dobson stated ” Martyn…we’ve found some Wall Barley Hordeum murinum it’s not on the original list” Then other new species kept coming…as my smile got bigger and bigger!

Sadly there were few butterflies of moths about due to the dull weather but the odd Narrow bordered five spot Burnet moth did make a guest appearance.

Around about 13.00 we decided to call it a day and Joan told me that she would send me the data of any new species that had been found. And talking of finding things NO ORCHIDS had been found.

BUT!!! around about 18.00 I received a phone call from my good friend Joan. ” Iv’e got some good news!..One of the ladies actually decided to stay on a bit and found two rather wet Bee Orchids and a single Common!

Brilliant news…They were found from the main path by taking the first right and they were somewhere off that path….A big thank you to J for her diligent work.

Show stoppers at Low Moor…

But first some interesting news on the Bee Orchids. Sadly still none at Low Moor Banks but I received an interesting email from Shaun who visited Otley wetland a regular site for the Bee Orchid. Shaun explained plenty of Common orchids but surprisingly no Bee Orchids could be found. I just wonder if that hot period of weather we had in spring has affected the orchids?

Anyway show stopper one is the Lime Hawk moth that appeared in my garden today..

Second was from Sue and Geoff ( AKA The Plant finders ! The Early Purple Orchid ) Well they visited Low Moor Banks again and found a Dark Mullien Verbascum nigrum  which is a site first. Thanks again.

Interesting fact…Raw Nook NR has two Dark Mulliens and is not that far from LMB…I wonder if the winds have help the species to get a foot hold at the site.

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