Monday, 24 February 2014

The First Moths of 2014 Arrive and Our Robin Sings In The Hawthorn Hedge

The Moth Box went out last night for the first time this year and came back in this morning with moths inside. 

Hooray! I have missed my small fluttery people.

Looking at various friend's moth blogs, there are a lot of Brindled Beauties and Dotted Borders around at present, so I was reasonably confident there would be at least one moth in the box this morning. In fact, it exceeded my expectations, as we had a grand total of ten moths of 5 different species (one of which was a micro whom I'm afraid I didn't ID). 

All five were New Species for me, which has got 2014 off to a Grand Old Start in Moth Terms (and has given me the necessary kick-up-the-bum to make sure I record them as I go and thereby avoid what happened last year, which was reaching Dec 31st and staring at a year's worth of records scribbled in my pad in pencil that will take several long days to put into excel). 

Those of you who have been reading my posts for a while (bless you and thank you!) will already know that during the summer months, moths tend to feature Quite Highly at Countryside Tales. I think it is safe to say that there will be a regular moth-spot from now on as they are clearly awake and about in reasonable numbers (and I can't resist them).

Last night's haul consisted of: Common Quaker (4), Clouded Drab (1), Hebrew Character (2) and Oak Beauty (2). This last moth is very well-named and fits in perfectly with the general tree and more specifically Oak theme my life is following at present. It's also one of the most beautiful moths I've yet seen and has very striking markings. One was perched on the outside of the box and I found the second one asleep upside-down on the fence nearby. I have gotten into the habit of checking the vicinity around the light box for moths as many of them are drawn to the light but don't go into the box, and you can often find them snoozing gently on fences and blades of grass.

Here they are...

Clouded Drab. An unfairly dull name for a nicely-marked moth, it flies March-May and feeds on Sallow and Oak in particular, although will eat many deciduous trees. Is common over most of Britain

The Common Quaker flies March-May and feeds on numerous deciduous trees and shrubs, including Oak and Sallow. It too is widespread in the UK

Common Quaker head-on

Another Common Quaker, demonstrating how their markings can vary in colour

The Hebrew Character flies March-April, is widespread and feeds at Sallow blossom. The larvae feed on a wide range of deciduous trees and shrubs.

Moth Defence In Action. Two Common Quakers playing convincing dead while the third snoozes in the corner. When they were sure I wasn't looking, they hopped back upright and are now asleep in the box again awaiting nightfall.

Oak Beauty Number 1. These beautiful species fly March-April and are reasonably widespread through the UK, although they are scarcer in Scotland and Ireland. They feed on a number of deciduous trees but the caterpillars especially like Oak. You can find them in suburban areas as well as the deep countryside, often snoozing during the day on an oak tree, so it's worth keeping your eyes peeled (although the camo is exceptionally good I reckon).

Oak Beauty Number 2
 
The Oak Beauty's camouflage is so like moss and lichen and the bark of an oak; you can see why they are connected to these trees.

Hope you enjoyed the First Countryside Tales Moths Of 2014. Hopefully there will be many more to come, and I expect also the return of some old favourites (notably some more furry ones for Seagull Suzie).

Whilst out in the garden yesterday afternoon our Robin was very evident and sat in the hedge and sang to us for what felt like the entire time we were outside. It was certainly long enough to go back indoors (walking past him and he never moved), get the camera, go back outdoors and record him. Gorgeous, no? He's never far away now when we are in the garden and has been singing and singing recently...

 
I'll leave you with a picture of Poppy fast asleep and looking very sweet....

Sleepy Pops

Wishing you all a Good Week.

CT :-)

20 comments:

  1. Well done on the moths - a great start to the year :) I had Oak Beauty in my trap last year for the first time and it really is one of the most beautiful moths :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wasn't expecting it at all so it was a really lovely surprise, especially to get two of them. Feels like the season's starting now! x

      Delete
  2. Such lovely pictures of moths and very interesting. Love little Poppy. I shall call again to find out more about moths. Have a good week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Sarah and thank you very much for the follow :-) I have reciprocated and am looking forward to reading your posts. I see you have Westies too- our other dog (Teddy) is a Westie. Pops is a JR. Glad you enjoyed the moths. CT :-)

      Delete
  3. Little Poppy looks exhausted!! I am afraid that I am one of those people who is scared of moths when they come indoors - well, all insects really! - but it is so interesting to see your up close pictures, these I can cope with!! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She'd had a very busy afternoon in the garden! Perhaps seeing the moth photos this summer will help desensitise you.... x

      Delete
  4. That Oak Beauty is a stunner and so well disguised as lichen. Poppy almost looks like a camouflaged moth herself on that snuggly bed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the Oak Beauty will prove to be one of my all-time favourites. What is is about puppies fast asleep? Like children, they look so sweet :-)

      Delete
  5. Hi, I've just come across your blog and am your new follower. Right I am now off to read some of your past posts :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Julie and welcome to Countryside Tales. I'm now your newest follower too! I'll look forward to reading your posts as I see from your side bar we have a common interest in looking after our pollinators. I've just been making a list of early spring flowering plants to add to the garden...a trip to the garden centre is in order :-)

      Delete
  6. That is great news about the moths - it's wonderful to see them again! The robin is lovely - as is Poppy, as always!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am LOVING having the moths back again, I really missed them over the winter. And even Poppy was relatively well behaved with them and stopped trying to eat them when told firmly not to :-)

      Delete
  7. She is VERY sweet. Love the video....incidentally, I've sorted my one of the dogs out now if you can be bothered to go back!

    Great to see the moths. I've missed them over winter! xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought it might just be me not getting your vid to work... :-)

      Hopefully plenty more moths to come of lots of interesting shapes and colours over the next few months. I can't wait to put the box out again and see who's inside!

      ps- am going to email ma your email address as she's keen to get the pic of dylan over to you for sketching x

      Delete
  8. What a good idea recording the robin singing, I love it. I may copy it, hope you don't mind - I haven't yet used the video aspect of my camera, haven't been inspired but to record the sight and sound of birds singing does inspire me. I am pleased you are researching moths, I feel they are underrated and some are quite beautiful aren't they? I have an elderly neighbour who also does what you do. A lovely post., thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Recording birdsong is a great thing to do with the video- I'm planning on putting more on as time goes on. Glad to have inspired you :-)

      Moths are SO important yet so many people think they are just small and brown and rather insignificant. I'll post more pics as the year proceeds- by early summer there are some amazing ones about.

      Delete
  9. Loved every minute of this post ... it reminds me Spring WILL arrive.
    I have had the pleasure if being visited by some quite fascinating moths here at the farm over the years. I go bonkers when we have a Luna moths visit , we since had one fly right in the back door and I insisted it was indeed a fairy in disquise . Of course I took oodles of pictures before I gently assisted it back out into the night. Gorgeous it was.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do feel for you being buried under all that snow! Take heart my dear- the seasons swing no matter how much men try and disrupt them and Spring is on its way.

      I love the idea of your luna moths being fairies :-) Would love to see some pics of your moths as and when they arrive with you x

      Delete
  10. Lovely post CT! I thoroughly enjoy your moth posts! Well I enjoy all of your posts but just love seeing your fab photos of these mothy creatures :) Poppy looks adorable as ever. They do all look so very sweet and innocent whilst sleeping! Sorry for recent absence! I've had this tab open on my browser for a good few days and haven't got around to commenting until now. Hope all is well! x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Lou. Hopefully more mothy folk to come as it gets warmer. Not to worry re reading posts- life does get in the way sometimes doesn't it?! All is well here, hope all well with you, your mum and Bracken x

      Delete

Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x