Posted by: lensweb | August 14, 2016

Sustrans Cycleway at Straw’s Bridge

Sustrans Cycleway at Straw’s Bridge

Sustrans, the charity which created the National Cycle Network, is running a series of events to find out what wildlife lives on local cycle paths around Ilkeston as part of the Greener Greenways project. They hosted a free fun, family friendly day and bioblitz on the Nutbrook Trail near Straws Bridge Nature Reserve on Friday 11 August 2016. Wildlife events included guided walks and activities, demonstrations and games, followed by LENS Wildlife Group moth trapping in the evening.

When we arrived the car park was quite full, people were busy feeding the many mute swans swimming on the aptly named Swan Lake where great clubrush and grey clubrush grow side by side. The button weed first recorded by Derbyshire Flora Group in 2004 is still flourishing.

Buttonweed Straw's Bridge 110816 IMG_4342

Buttonweed at Straw’s Bridge

It was a lovely warm evening for the moth trapping. A rough grassland site close to the Sustrans Cycleway was chosen. Two Skinner traps were run, one with a 15W actinic and the other a 125W mercury vapour lamp. The sun set at 8.30, and we sat in the pitch black with our traps for company, plus a few midges, some friendly bats assisted with removal of irritating insects but may have fed on a few moths too.

Our first moths were orange swifts, a lot of them, yet  we’d never seen these before. Other highlights of the evening were reed veneer, brown spot pinion, small wainscot and six striped rustic and I have to admit that the magpie moth, big like a dalmatian, was pretty spectacular.

Altogether 54 species were recorded and the highest counts were of large yellow underwing, mother of pearl and orange swift.

orange swift Triodia sylvina conf D Grundy Straw's Bridge 110816 IMG_4918

Orange Swift

Throughout the evening two tawny owls were hooting, reaffirming their territories in preparation for the next breeding season.  The Perseid meteor shower peaked that night. These are meteors from the debris in the tail of the Swift-Tuttle comet, when the Earth passes through the tail of the comet, some of the rock and dust is knocked out of place and falls towards the Earth, burning up in the atmosphere as meteors (shooting stars). They travel at speeds of around 60km (37 miles) per second, burning up more than 50 miles above the Earth and creating streaks of light as they do so. Most of them are only about the size of a grain of sand.

We were not so lucky that it was cloudy for most of the night although that may have the effect of attracting more moths towards the light of the moth traps. As the lights were turned off at midnight, the sky cleared to show a gibbous moon and thousands of stars with the plough low in the sky. A large shooting star with a long tail arced over the whole sky. Disney!  Then the veil of clouds was drawn and we went home.

Marion Bryce 14 August 2016

List of moths follows

Prays fraxinella Ash Bud Moth
Pandemis cerasana Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix
Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth
Agrochola litura Brown-spot Pinion
Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet
Agriphila tristella Common Grass-veneer
Mesapamea secalis agg. Common Rustic agg.
Mythimna pallens Common Wainscot
Agapeta hamana Common Yellow Conch
Amphipyra pyramidea agg. Copper Underwing agg.
Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches
Eilema griseola Dingy Footman
Cosmia trapezina Dun-bar
Ennomos fuscantaria Dusky Thorn
Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder
Plusia festucae Gold Spot
Hypsopygia costalis Gold Triangle
Harmonia axyridis Harlequin Ladybird
Agapeta zoegana Knapweed Conch
Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing
Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth
Eupithecia centaureata Lime-speck Pug
Abraxas grossulariata Magpie
Acleris forsskaleana Maple Button
Cryphia domestica Marbled Beauty
Cydia splendana Marbled Piercer
Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl
Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty
Watsonalla binaria Oak Hook-tip
Halyzia sedecimguttata Orange Ladybird
Hepialus sylvina Orange Swift
Udea lutealis Pale Straw Pearl
Catoptria pinella Pearl Grass-veneer
Eulithis prunata Phoenix
Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth
Chilo phragmitella Reed Veneer
Idaea aversata Riband Wave
Perizoma affinitata Rivulet
Hydraecia micacea Rosy Rustic
Phragmatobia fuliginosa Ruby Tiger
Scotopteryx chenopodiata Shaded Broad-bar
Chilodes maritimus Silky Wainscot
Autographa gamma Silver Y
Idaea dimidiata Single-dotted Wave
Xestia sexstrigata Six-striped Rustic
Cataclysta lemnata Small China-mark
Perizoma alchemillata Small Rivulet
Chortodes pygmina Small Wainscot
Hypena proboscidalis Snout
Rivula sericealis Straw Dot
Ypsolopha scabrella Wainscot Smudge
Yponomeuta rorrella Willow Ermine
Acasis viretata Yellow-barred Brindle
Pseudargyrotoza conwagana Yellow-spot Twist

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