Some of the moths are now arriving in large numbers. For example, there were thirty Buff Arches in the box this morning, and twenty seven Uncertains. There were also some eagerly-anticipated New Arrivals, such as the gloriously-marked Black Arches (Jess, if you're reading this they have arrived! - keep your eyes peeled on your study wall) and the teddy-bear like Drinker moth. The latter we also saw late last night when Dave and I spent over an hour walking round a nature reserve staring at the ground trying to find and record non-existent glow worms. We haven't given up and will be back out next week trying another site where we have at least seen them before.
Glow worms are adorable creatures (although perhaps not when seen in the cold light of day, or indeed the brash light of a camera's flash). They are adorable rather because (unlike fireflies) they can't really control their lights, so they switch them on at the start of the mating season in June and leave them on until they've been mated and have laid their eggs, at which point they turn the light off and they die. Only the girls light up (and the larvae, who feed off small snails).
Here is a pic of a pair mating that we saw when doing Roding Woodcock surveys last month. The green glow of her light was lost in the flash, but at least you can see what they look like. The girl is the bigger of the two. The boys have wings and fly about looking for the tell-tale green glow of the girls.
Incidentally, glow worms are currently under-recorded in the UK, so if you live here and fancy doing your bit for biodiversity and conservation you could do worse than go round your local wood or along any stoney paths after dark and record the grid reference, location and any other relevant details of places you spot them and send the info HERE
|male and female glow worms mating|
Here is the pick of today's Papillon Du Nuits....
|The ever-fluffy Yellow Tail (this one is a male because he has the diagnostic black spots and very fluffy antennae)|
|The ever-handsome Black Arches (who is a wee-bit early if truth be told, but then almost everything seems to be this year. This is also a male -note the fluffy antennae)|
|The creamy Buff Ermine|
|The master of camouflage Buff Tip|
|The impressively golden Burnished Brass|
|Who gets two pictures to show off his amazing bronze sheen|
|The delicate and butterfly-like clouded border|
|The always adorable Drinker (another boy- the girls are bigger and lighter in colour, more lemon than chestnut)|
|Who also gets two pictures because he reminds me of a fluffy teddy bear|
|Just one of the egg boxes from inside the trap covered on both sides with moths. Look at all those Buff Arches!|
|The ever impressive Elephant Hawk|
|The squiggly-lined Fan Foot|
|The interested Heart And Dart|
|The sleepy Iron Prominent|
|The petticoated Large Yellow Underwing|
|'Me and my big friend'|
|The darkly alluring melanistic form of Peppered Moth|
|The shimmering Mother Of Pearl|
|The graceful Riband Wave|
|The all-time favourite Rosy Footman|
|The elegant Minor Shoulder Knot (a new arrival to the garden- not seen him before)|
|The striking Rustic (ditto as per above)|
|The unusually-shaped Scalloped Hook Tip|
|The diminutive Single Dotted Wave|
|The inquisitive and leggy Small Magpie|
|The striking Small Phoenix|
|The? Small fan footed wave OR Treble Brown Spot. I can't decide. What do you think?|
|The tightly wrapped up Scarce Footman (I think. But please feel free to disagree if you know different)|
So, all in all a good day's work and one which will take my total of different species found in the garden here so far this year up to around about 200, which is not bad, considering we're only half way through. There are still a lot of Interesting Mothy People to come, and I am STILL waiting for a Large Emerald to turn up....I only saw one last year. They are Pretty Close to being my all-time favourite moth, which, if you read this blog regularly, you will know is a Big Accolade Indeed for one moth to have :-)
Incidentally, I am aware that lots of people are becoming interested in moths (which is great), so I thought I should probably point you in the direction of an organisation that can help give you access to them and information about them. They also run regular moth-themed nights (ie trapping) all over the country. If you don't already know about it, you can do a lot worse than joining Butterfly Conservation. Alternatively, your local Wildlife Trust will probably also have a moth expert and may run similar night events.
Hope you're all having a Good Week?