We spent the period between Christmas and New Year down in Devon and enjoyed walking sections of the Coastal Path – between rainshowers of course!
One walk went from Streat to Blackpool Sands and en route, we stopped off to explore a little cove and watch the waves crash in. The only way to access it was down a little path which followed a stream to reach the sea – otherwise the beach was bounded by cliffs and rock.
There were several caves within the cliffs – not reaching back more than 20-30m – wall pennywort (Umbelicus rupestris) was straining towards the light half-way down.
In the darker reaches beyond these hints of green, I used the torch on my phone to take a look around. I was hoping for roosting bats, as always with such places, but instead found their usual co-conspiritors namely hibernating herald moths (Scoliopteryx libatrix) and cave spiders (Meta spp.).
There were also some other small moths which appeared to be hibernating, but which flitted away if you held the light on them – something which the Herald’s never do. I managed to grab a photograph and then left them in peace.
Despite the rather poor quality of the photograph, several people on twitter were kind enough to provide an ID for this moth – identifying it as a Bloxworth snout (Hypena obsitalis). This is a relatively recent resident to the UK, previously a rare immigrant from the continent found in Dorset (Bloxworth being its first confirmed UK location) and Devon. The species has two generations, one flying in July and August, and then a second in September and October. This second generations hibernates through the winter to emerge in the spring, and it will be these hibernating individuals which I encountered.