I was originally going to lump in both these reports together. In fact I was going to lump them in with a few other reports, to be honest.
I've given this some thought, though - and I think each of these two "firsts" deserve their own blog entry.
This is the first then, of my two "firsts".
Two days ago, on Monday 10th August 2020, I saw two animals locally that I've not seen before. AT ALL. Anywhere.
Tomorrow (or very soon anyway) I'll tell you about the second, which you'll see below, is a bird I saw in Swinley Forest.
But tonight - I'll talk to you about the first first - a moth.
Not only a first for me - but a first for the 10KM square (SU87) that we currently live in - as confirmed by Martin Harvey (the Berkshire moth recorder and biological records guru who kindly confirmed my tentative ID when I asked him to).
I occasionally set up my battered old moth trap (a very weak 15W thing) in the back garden - and have done twice (or thrice) over this recent heatwave - as my eldest Ben likes to see what moths are around - as does his Daddy, to be fair.
On Monday morning, we realised we had a beaten-up Toadflax brocade (Calophasia lunula) moth in the trap - on the red database, not at all common in the UK (likes southern coasts and that has been that for some time to be honest ... although Martin Harvey also suggested to me via email when confirming my ID that he had had quite a few reports this year, suggesting the hot spell had been beneficial to their movement north and colonisation around the home counties perhaps?)
The scientific name for the toadflax brocade moth, by the way, is Calophasia (meaning [looks like a piece of] wood) lunula (little moon (from the dorsal half of the postdiscal fascia - lunate shaped , or like a wee moon - see photos below or better still HERE)).
Well... after Martin kindly confirmed my ID and also told me that he had never seen one himself before... I enrolled on i-record and submitted my report. (I also added my report of the bird that I saw for the first time later in the day too).
I know our toadflax brocade moth was a little beaten up - but it was a little gem too - and I'm more than a little proud to be the first person to report one in this particular 10KM ordnance survey and therefore biological records square.
That's the first first then.
I'll reveal what my second first (so to speak) was tomorrow. A bird, remember? In Swinley Forest.
Have a guess if you like - and I'll reveal all very soon.