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SUFFOLK: Lepidoptera in the King's Forest

1st August 2018

This spring Sharon Hearle of Butterfly Conservation has been running a series of moth trap openings in the King's Forest in north Suffolk as part of the Shifting Sands Project (itself part of Back from the brink, a heritage lottery backed scheme to help rare species and habitats). These have been held in mid-week so I was only able to attend one. Five traps were put out, but they were small Heath traps, so there was only a modest number of moths to go through. There were four new macros for me - Birch Mocha, Peacock Moth, True Lovers Knot and Bird's Wing. Clouded Buff was a Breckland speciality, albeit one that I had seen before. In addition one attendee had brought another Breckland speciality, Marbled Clover, caught nearby at Lackford.

 Birch Mocha
 Clouded Buff
 Peacock Moth
 Marbled Clover
 Bird's Wing

Afterwards we went for a walk along one of the nearby rides. A Grayling sat obligingly on the path, and we were treated to a sight I've not seen for many years as around 30 Red Admirals flew all around us, attracted by the squashed wild cherries on the path. A Silver-washed Fritillary was also present in the same area, and the leaf mine of Stigmella aceris in Field Maple, a very scarce but spreading species over the border in Norfolk was new for me.

Other than the butterflies and moths, Sharon showed us a colony of Pantaloon Bees, which were being rather skittish. Nearby I found the bug Alydus calcaratus, and a couple of Tortoise Shieldbugs were nice to see.

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