April Moths.

There were two options, either Monday or Wednesday night. Monday was supposed to be fine and twenty degrees, with Wednesday twenty five and possible showers. The warmer temperature would be better for moths, but the chance of rain drops hitting an expensive hot moth light made the decision easy, Monday night it was. At least with daylight saving over it gets dark earlier, and I found myself setting up in the last glimmers of light in the tall eucalypt forest to the north. After the 60 mm autumn break I was hoping to get some Hepialids, and indeed the first moth to the light was an Elhamma australasiae, but as it turned out, it was the solitary member of that family to pay a visit. There were some good consolation prizes however, with two specimens of the Bright Geometrid, Lychnographa agaura coming in, the first time I’ve seen them in this locality.

bright geometrid

April is the optimum time of year for Clara’s Satin Moth, Thalaina clara, and quite a number came in on this occasion. Not surprising as the larvae feed on wattle foliage, in abundant supply around my mothing location.

clara's satin moth

Rhinodia rostraria is another Geometrid that I’ve previously photographed in the area, it will often perch with its wings closed as this one did for quite some time, before I finally caught it with wings spread on the base of the sheet stand.

rhinodia rostraria


rhinodia rostraria

Two Sparshall’s Moths, Trichiocercus sparshalli, Notodontidae, came in, both males with their tail tufts and pectinate antennae. The larvae are very striking, the photo was taken in the garden way back in 2005, not knowing at the time what they were.

sparshall's moth


sparshall's moth


sparshall's larvae

Two specimens of a moth in the same family that was completely new to me were photographed in a variety of poses to capture all characteristics, it is Ecnomodes sp.(1)

ecnomodes


ecnomodes

I was expecting to get the odd Anthelid in to the light, and when a large moth started fluttering around in anthelid fashion without settling I thought I had one. I took several shots of it on the move to try to get an identification, one of which turned out to be important. Finally it started to settle and I found I had a Lasiocampid, a male Entometer species with spectacular blue-lined antennae and blue-tinged palps. Entometer fervens is the common local species but this was Entometer apicalis, a larger moth with a different under-wing pattern. The identification was confirmed by the shot on the move that showed the under-wing details.

entometer


entometer


entometer

And, another Geometrid that I hadn’t seen for quite some time, a female Paralaea porphyrinaria fluttered in, settled, and then obligingly climbed on to a stick for me.

paralaea porphyrinaria

Finally, as happens occasionally, an ant spider wandered in and across the groundsheet before disappearing into the night. As mentioned in the Wikipedia article, the spider is walking on its three rear pairs of legs, leaving the front pair free to touch a challenging ant’s antennae.

ant spider

These have been a selection of the night’s moths, the complete collection can be seen here.

Click to enlarge

Q is for Quail-thrush, the Spotted is the local species, and I’ve only ever managed one distant photo despite many attempts when I’ve been comprehensively outwitted.

quail-thrush

R is for Robin, the Scarlet is a regular autumn visitor after coming down from the high country, this male had just arrived in the garden last year when I snapped him.

robin

S is for Snipe, Latham’s Snipe is a bird I’ve monitored at the local wetland for many years. This photo of one blending with the background was taken however at Flooding Creek beside Lake Guyatt, a popular location for the birds when water levels are suitable.

snipe

T is for Treecreeper, this female White-throated was a great surprise on our Lemon-scented Teatree, far from its normal forest habitat.

treecreeper

U is for the Uniform Swiftlet, the only Australian bird with a name starting with the letter U. It is seen in Far North Queensland, sometimes in association with White-throated Needletails, a bird I fluked this flight shot with the FZ30 years ago.

needletail

V is for Vanellus miles, the Masked Lapwing, formerly called the Spur-winged Plover for a very apparent reason. We rarely see them on the property nowadays, for some reason they seem much happier frequenting grassy areas in the township.

lapwing

W is for Whistler, the exuberant song of the Rufous in spring tells us that it is back from the north ready for the breeding season.

whistler

X is for Xenus cinereus, the Terek Sandpiper, we once saw two at Jack Smith Lake when it was receiving good rainfall and was attracting waders by the thousand. That however was in pre bird photography days, so the illustration is from the Graham Pizzey & Frank Knight Field Guide to the Birds of Australia, my birding bible.

terek sandpiper

Y is for Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo, nemesis of witjuti grubs and feller of small wattles in the process. The power of their bite is incredible, once in East Gippsland we heard cracking noises and looked up to see a YTB tearing chunks of hard red wood out of a dead mahogany gum.

yellow-tailed black

Z is for Zosterups lateralis, the Silvereye, very partial to grapes, berries, and other small fruits, part of the buff-flanked Tasmanian race migrates as far as Queensland and return.

silvereye

So ends this version of the Avian Alphabet, click pictures to enlarge.

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