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NOTES AND OBSERVATIONS Rubus mucronulatus Bor. and R. leyanus Rogers in Suffolk On a number of occasions I have collected specimens of a white flowered bramble from various sites in East Suffolk which have remained without a name. As I was visiting Alan Newton in December, I took one of the unnamed sheets, to make a further attempt to get a name for it, as I wondered, by flower colour and leaf shape, whether it could be Rubus egregius Focke, which occurs in Norfolk. AN wondered if the present plant could be a variant of Rubus mucronulatus Bor., which also occurs in Norfolk, but has pale pink flowers with pilose anthers, leaves not as abruptly obovate as the Suffolk plants, and with a subcordate base. I have now gone carefully through all my sheets of both species and compared them with the Suffolk plants, and have reached the conclusion that Newton is correct. The only difference between the Suffolk plants and R. mucronulatus collected in Norfolk and Lines, are the white petals, lack of hairs on the anthers, and somewhat narrower leaf bases, though this may be more in the nature of habitat difference, as all the Suffolk gatherings were from Sandlings heaths, than woodland or fen margins. Gatherings of Rubus mucronulatus Bor. have been made in Suffolk as follows. Foxhall Heath, 2Ist July 1980; Brightwell Heath, 16th July 1991 and Butley Heath, 16th July 1991. I recently came across a sheet collected in Assington Thicks on 16th July, 1979, which I now recognised immediately as being Rubus leyanus Rogers. Whilst visiting AN I showed him this sheet, which he confirmed without hesitation. Originally, the sheet had been to the late E. S. Edees for determination, and, a few years before my visit, he had also been to Assington, so one must assume that he may not have known R. leyanus as well, as the label on my speeimen states, 'Frequent in the north end of the wood.' Rubus leyanus is a regional endemic with a widespread distribution especially in South Wales and south west England, with only a few known sites in eastern England. However, I have seen it at Bourne Woods in south Lines, and it is frequent in 4 10km squares in east Norfolk. A. L. Bull Blastobasis decolorella Woll. (Lep.: Blastobasidae) new to West Suffolk and brief notes on other Suffolk Microlepidoptera. On 3rd August 1991 I returned, after a gap of over 30 years, to Northfield Wood, Onehouse, in West Suffolk (VC 26). I was delighted to be welcomed there, it seemed, by a speeimen of Blastobasis decolorella Woll., which flew from the undergrowth and settled on the path. Although it had been recorded from East Suffolk (VC 25) on several occasions (the first by Mr Chipperfield and myself at Aldeburgh on 8th August 1959), this occurrence at Onehouse would seem to be the first reported from West Suffolk. The larva is polyphagous and the species has been recorded from most of the surrounding counties. Blastobasis decolorella was given the name of "Wakely's Dowd", by Heslop, in honour of Mr S. Wakely who first found the species in Britain in 1946 at Dulwich, South London. It was there that I became well acquainted with the moth.

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 30 (1994)


52

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 30

Interestingly I saw the congener Blastobasis lignea Wals, (given the name "Furness Dowd" by Heslop) Market Hill, Framlingham on Ist August 1993. It was also first recorded as a Suffolk species at Aldeburgh on 8th August 1959, and has been caught several times since then in West Suffolk. Framlingham produced several other interesting species: Oegoconia quadripuncta Haw. on 7th August 1993; Eupoecilia angustana angustana Hb. on 4th, 5th and 7th August 1993; Catoptriafalsella D. & S. on 3rd August 1993; and in the neighbourhood the dark spinach, Pelurga comitata Linn., was recorded at Dennington together with numerous specimens of Cnephasia longana Haw. and a single Acleris forsskaleana Linn, at Saxstead on Ist August 1993. In the 1993 Suffolk Natural History, page 22, the report of Apomyelois bistriatella Hülst, from Southwold is given as a new county record for Suffolk. This moth has in fact been recorded on at least six previous occasions from the county. The füll sub-species name used today is Apomyelois bistriatella neophanes Durr. and it is as Myelois neophanes Durr. that it was recorded as being beaten from buckthorn in Shipmeadow marshes (VC 25) on 19th August 1935 (Morley 1937); as Euzophera neophanes Durr. from Thelnetham Fen (VC 26) on 25th August 1959 (Aston, 1960); as Euzophera neophanes Durr. at Aldeburgh (VC 25) on 9th July 1960 (Chipperfield, 1960); as Apomyelois neophanes Durr. that larvae were reported from Aldringham (VC 25) by Mr. S. Wakely on 29th May 1967 (de Worms, 1968) and as Apomyelois neophanes Durr. at Walberswick (VC 25) on 30th July and lOth August 1971 (Chipperfield, 1972). The 1959 and 1960 specimens were determined by Mr. S. Wakely. In the currently-used Standard work, Goater's British Pyralid Moths (1986), there is no mention of Apomyelois bistriatella neophanes Durr. occurring in Suffolk and I expect that the changes in nomenclature have made it difficult to keep track of the records of this species. References Aston, A. (i960), Local Microlepidoptera. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 9, 416. Chipperfield, H. E. (1960). Suffolk Lepidoptera 1960. Trans Suffolk Nat. Soc. 9, 420. Chipperfield, H. E. (1972). Suffolk Lepidoptera in 1971. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 15, 500. de Worms, Baron C. G. M. (1968). Some Further County Records of Lepidoptera for 1967. Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 14, 131. Goater, B. (1986). British Pyralid Moths. Colchester, Harley Books. Morley, C. (1937). Final Catalogue of the Lepidoptera of Suffolk. Ipswich: Suffolk Naturalists' Society. Alasdair Aston

Wire perching by Tawny Owls — another

record

Perching on overhead wires by the Tawny Owl (Strix aluco) has previously been recorded (Martin, 1988). At that time it was considered unusual, and it was thought that this had not been recorded before. Recently it has come to my notice that a Tawny Owl was recorded as perch-

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 30 (1994)


53

NOTES & OBSERVATIONS

ing on overhead wires in June 1993, at the Country Park in Mersea, Essex (Entwhistle, in Patterson, 1933). I should be very pleased to hear of any occurrence of owls perching on overhead wires, except for the Little Owl {Athene noctuä). However, I should like to know of any wire-perching by this owl in unusual circumstances. For example, I once saw a Little Owl perched in daylight on an overhead wire across the A12 near Capel St. Mary, Ipswich, during the busy early evening rush hour traffic. Jeff Martin References Martin, J. R. (1988). Unusual perching behaviour by Tawny Owls. Trans. Suffolk Nats. Soc. 24, 5-6. Patterson, J. (1993). Field Reports (Mersea Area). Essex Birds. 84, 21. Letters in the Times in September 1993 showed the danger of trying to make too much of observations made in a limited area and over a short period of time. Insect populations fluctuate enormously from year to year, usually in response to weather, and especially winter weather in this country. For example, in my field of interest, aphids and plant viruses, it is often possible to predict aphid numbers in the following spring and early summer with fair accuracy from winter weather data alone. Dr. Ian J. Dilworth and Mr. D. F. Barton wrote reporting a fall in the numbers of some butterflies in 1993, and this stimulated a reply from Alasdair Aston. His butterfly data are given below. (Editor) Butterflies at Framlingham in early August, 1991-3 Letters in the Times of 6th and 14th September and later in 1993 reported nationwide dramatic falls in the populations of Red Admirals, Peacock and Cabbage Whites. Those falls were noted at Capel St. Mary, Suffolk, and in Cumbria, Derbyshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Essex and Devon. Since my experiences at Framlingham were different, I reported that to the Times (6th September) and I here append details of my observations in early August 1991-3. The dates on which each species was seen are listed.

Small Skipper Brimstone Large White Small White Green Veined White Common Blue Holly Blue Red Admiral Painted Lady Small Tortoiseshell

1 st—6th August 1991

2nd-7th August 1992

Ist—7th August 1993

2,3,4

2,5,7

1,2, 4 , 7

6 2, 3, 4,6 1,2, 4 , 6 2,4 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 4 1,2, 4 , 6

2, 4 5, 6, 7 2, 5, 7 7 4, 5 2, 5, 6, 7 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 5 2,5,7

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5, 6,7 1,2, 4, 5, 6 , 7 2, 7 3, 4 , 7 7 1,2, 3, 4, 6 , 7 1,2, 4, 6 , 7

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 30 (1994)


54 Peacock Comma Wall Brown Gatekeeper Meadow Brown Ringlet

Suffolk Natural History, Vol. 30 1,2,3,4,6 2, 4 , 6 2, 3, 4, 6 2, 3 , 4 2, 3 , 4

2,5,6,7

1,2,3,4,5,6,7

5 2, 5 , 7 2,5,7

1,7 1,2,3,4, 6,7 1,2, 4 , 7

The observations were made on walks in and around Framlingham. Although no specimen counts were undertaken, the numbers of species-days (even if the extra day, 7.viii. 1993, be excluded) are comparable in 1992 and 1993. Interestingly, 1992 was a Painted Lady year and the 1991 season was late enough to permit sightings of the Ringlet. Alasdair Aston

Unusual diet for a Blackbird Whilst Clearing an area of long grass earlier this year I was attended by a tarne hen Blackbird. Suddenly she swooped, picked up something but then dropped it. It hopped. She swooped again and flew off towards her nest with a young frog in her beak. This easily identified Blackbird has reared at least six broods in the last three years, largely on cat food, sometimes Coming indoors to help herseif to it. A. Rood

Trans. Suffolk Nat. Soc. 30 (1994)

Notes and Observations 30  
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