Another new butterfly, and two beetles...
Only in May did we find the first new butterfly species for the area, in the form of the Green Hairstreak colony spotted by Tim Harris on Wanstead Flats (see here).
Walking with Kathy Hartnett in Wanstead Park on 20th July, she asked if Ringlet butterflies had ever been seen in the Park, and I replied that I didn't know of any. She had recently seen her first ones ever elsewhere, and was quite excited by that. Just east of the Shoulder of Mutton Pond heading towards Perch Pond, a smallish dark butterfly - or possibly a moth - flew up as I brushed some Willowherb. I mentioned it, but hadn't had a chance to identify it. Kathy saw it land, looked through her binoculars and said "Paul, I think it's a Ringlet!" It was - the first that I've seen or heard of in the area. It took a bit of effort to capture a worthwhile photograph, but the pleasure that it gave Kathy in being the first to identify the species here was a pleasure in itself.
My moth-trap catches creatures other than moths occasionally, and a long-nosed beetle caught my attention on a couple of occasions - a weevil which was most probably the Acorn Weevil Curculio glandium. I say probably because it is difficult to tell this one apart from a similar species C. nucum. A close-up look at its antennae helps, and I'm pretty sure it is glandium.
A few days later I caught a beetle in my overnight moth-trap, which I tried to get a "handle" on by means of a Google search. I'd failed to find anything quite like it in my collection of books, knowing only that it was of a group commonly called "Longhorns".
The multitude of images that turned up mostly related to an Asian longhorn beetle that is finding its way into Europe and is a very serious threat to timber. It didn't look quite like the images of these, but then didn't look quite like the images of anything else, either. As the Asian Longhorn Beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) is such a serious threat, the Forestry Commission website urges people to report any possible sightings. I thought it prudent to do so, together with a photograph and a request that even if it turned out not to be the Asian species, they might like to let me know what it was.
I'd let the creature go after photographing it, so couldn't supply - as was requested - a sample. Very quickly my e-mail was replied to with an urgent message to let them have a telephone number and that my information had been sent on to experts to identify the beetle. Soon after came another e-mail, thanking me for reporting it and informing - with obvious relief - that in fact it was just a harmless native species Mesosa nebulosa, the White-clouded Longhorn Beetle, found in broad-leaved and pasture woodland and mainly associated with oak.
Paul Ferris, 29th July 2013