Friday, 7 August 2015

Moths, Glorious Moths, And Ravens...

The temperature dropped quite low last night but there were still 50 species in the box comprising 81 individuals when I checked it this morning.

Among them was one of my all-time favourite moths (possibly even the favourite, but don't tell the others). It's the second visit I've had this year and only the third in three summers of moth trapping, so it's rare enough to be treasured when it arrives...




The Large Emerald.


The moths are changing as the Earth turns towards Autumn. I have yet to see any Sallows, but the Drinkers have appeared and there was a Leopard Moth on the wall first thing, as well as the first Canary-Shouldered Thorn of the year...

Leopard Moth, flies June-August

The Drinker, flies July- August, males (as this one) are attracted to light

The Drinker

Canary-shouldered Thorn
 In fact, the box contained several of my favourites, with Rosy Footmen....


Peppered...

 
Black Arches....


And the diminutive Chinese Character (disguised as a bird dropping)....


There was also a Copper Underwing (of some sort)...


The first three Common Rustics of the season...


 An Iron Prominent...


And a second generation Coxcomb Prominent too...


A little less welcome were three wasps and this Ichneumon, a parasite of moths!


While I was out searching the garden for any sleepy moths that might have tucked themselves away among the vegetation, I heard our Ravens calling. The call is a very distinctive 'gronk gronk' unlike any of the other Corvid calls. 

Ravens are the size of buzzards (half the size again of Crows) and have a wingspan of 120-150cm. In flight, their tails form a distinctive diamond-shape (as opposed to the Crow which is blunt). First recorded in the UK in Anglo-Saxon times, they were once widespread and could be found in every part of the country, particularly over towns (poor sanitation), but their numbers were reduced so much by control and persecution that by the late 19th C there were only a handful of them left in the mountains of the far North and West of the UK.

It is only recently that they have started to make a comeback, largely due to conservation efforts that have seen them afforded more protection. Even now, their nesting sites are largely based in the Western half of these Islands, so the fact that I happen to know this pair have bred not far from here this summer is great news. They've flown over the house for the last three days. I'm always alerted by their call which makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. Ravens get a bad press, but if you go a little further back to Norse Mythology, the God Odin had a pair of Ravens that represented 'thought' and 'memory' and advised him. The photo is a record shot I'm afraid as the bird was some distance away. One other thing that's worth noting is that they usually fly in pairs, unlike Crows which are solitary and Rooks that hang out in large groups.


I also happened to see this as I was looking out the window waiting for the moth pictures to download....


This is the C.A.T whose smell has been driving the dogs mad....Unfortunately he/ she was sitting staring at the area where my Vole lives.... :o(

Hope everyone's well? I'm off to survey for flutters and do some sewing. Is it the weekend already? Happy Days.

CT :o)  

32 comments:

  1. Oh my, those moths are stunning, it must be so thrilling to see what the night has brought to the box. Interesting too regarding the ravens -I had been explaining the difference between rooks and jackdaws to some of my more urban chums and loftily declared that ravens were very rare-so am very glad to be proved right! I hope your vole is safely hiding from that cat, I wouldn't be a fan now of those pets. It is the weekend already! Yay, I'm off for a walk and then hopefully back to sew. What are you making this week? x

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    1. It is a little Christmas morning when the moth box has been out. I never tire of it :o)

      When my Cleo puss-cat was alive I never worried about her and wildlife as she wasn't into birds and only caught the odd rat or shrew. I don't feel very happy about this new puss-cat coming into the garden which we've worked so hard to make wildlife-friendly :o(

      Am planning to make a quilted bag of some sort- how about you? xx

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  2. There was a common rustic in my folks' bathroom the other day. The Emerald is a beautiful beastie indeed, lucky to have a close up on him!

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    1. I was so chuffed to see the Emerald, they really are such beautiful things :o)

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  3. The Drinker and the Chinese Character are funny little things, beautiful selection. I just put the light out and with great excitement along came a Elephant HM, first recording in the garden, OH was very impressed. We have a Hedgehog visiting every night,so we now have a food station. Dog not happy about cat food been left out...
    Amanda xx

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    1. Drinkers always remind me of Teddy Bears, but M says they are more like Hedgehogs! They're quite big moths, whereas the Chinese Character really is tiny- a few mms. Well done on the Ellie Hawk- stunning moths, always exciting to see one of those xx

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  4. Beautiful photographs. I am sending the name of your blog to my friend who is very interested in moths.

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  5. I have never seen the emerald moth. Beautiful. Love Crows and Ravens, though no Ravens where I live. Very interesting.

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  6. Oh yes, that large emerald is exquisite, such a gorgeous colour. We saw a pair of ravens last week in N Wales, they're quite magnificent. Cats are a bit of a menace when it comes to wildlife aren't they. I'm rooting for the vole. No doubt Ted and Pops will sort her out. The weekend indeed, how fast it all flies by. I don't think I've actually accomplished anything this week, unless you count spending an absolute fortune on secondary school uniform. Honestly, it was painful. CJ xx

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    1. I'm thinking a well-aimed jet of water might sort the cat out, failing that a T and P armed deployment....

      Secondary school uniform is exorbitant- I remember the shocked feeling after kitting L out for year 9. Then I discovered the lost property box gets cleared out at the end of every term and anything unclaimed put in a cupboard for sale- 50p for PE socks instead of £8 and a quid for a PE top instead of £20.... Worth finding out if there is one at the new school. Has served me well over the years with various replacements! xx

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  7. 81 moths? You've had a busy morning no doubt! I love the colour of the Rosy Footman. Your posts have definitely convinced me to build a moth box when I get back to England!
    Ravens are fascinating. I know they're very intelligent, I'm sure I read somewhere that they can imitate the call of wolves and foxes in order to attract them to a dead animal, so that the wolf/fox can get through the skin and the ravens get the leftovers.

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    1. Excellent! They're not too hard to make- must be instructions somewhere on the net. Failing that try Anglian Lepidopterist supplies.

      Quite right about Ravens alerting Apex predators to the whereabouts of prey. Apparently, deer stalkers sometimes work with them when hunting for that exact reason. Clever birds indeed.

      Will pop over and catch up with your adventures...time has been in short supply this week :o) x

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  8. Lovely selection of moths - the Large Emerald is stunning and Black Arches and Rosy Footman I would love to trap here. Have a good weekend.

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    1. We're doing well with Black Arches this year, but far fewer Buff Arches than I'd expected. Guess it's a natural cycle thing? x

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  9. You had a wonderful selection of Moths in your box. I remember seeing the Emerald in some of your previous posts, it is so stunning. Sarah x

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. It is certainly a very pretty and delicate moth xx

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  10. Lovely collection of moths - I found a few Leopards which was really exciting for me! I think one of my unidentified ones may be a Lesser Common Rustic, but like with the Rustic there seems to be so many variations in colour from very dark to much lighter! Aaargh! :-)

    Enjoyed your trip to the seaside post too. :-) xx

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    1. There are several species which are virtually impossible to tell apart- I ignore them :o) xx

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  11. Wonderful Moth selection. I think tht cat is up to no good!. Have a lovely weekend.

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    1. Thanks Margaret, and the same to you x

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  12. gorgeous pics -- starboy was looking over my shoulder and exclaiming delightedly ;). and how very clever to be disguised as a bird-dropping!!!

    aren't ravens just the Most? i hear what i assume to be the raven children from time to time -- although more infrequently now. the crows are back so i assume that means the ravens have officially moved out. it was such a magical thing to have them nesting so close by -- i wonder if they'll come back next year.....or if perhaps they'll be around more once winter settles in.

    xo

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    1. The bird dropping is such a sweet little thing, very Self Contained.

      I remember your Ravens- lucky you, having them so close. I don't know how far they wander? I shall endeavour to learn more about them, now they're here. xx

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  13. What a fab selection of moths...we seem to have many here and some great big ones too...must be the Privet Hawk moths. Bats are out every evening due to the lovely weather. Love the info about the Ravens.

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    1. We've been a little low on the ground for hawks this summer, only seen two or three species.

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  14. We used to be terrorised by cats in the garden prior to having Rocky hound, thankfully he scares them off now though he was in the baddest of books last week after cornering and killing a bird himself!! Lovely seeing you moth posts again & squeals excitedly & says we have ravens here!

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    1. Hey Jo :o) I was wondering how you all were so I'm glad to hear from you. Oh Dear Rocky. T and P caught a baby pigeon last year, which I though was against the Rules of the Pigeon Watcher's Club.... :o(

      Lucky you with the Ravens, it's interesting how they affect people, something a Bit Magical about them, me thinks xx

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  15. Great to have the difference between ravens and crows explained and I love seeing your named photos of moths so much. Blogging is a real education don't you think.

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    1. Thanks Sarah- I agree, have learnt so much from blogging. It's what got me into sewing too, seeing all the beautiful things everyone makes, and I've picked up a few great recipes as well :o) x

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  16. Hey CT,
    What a beautiful array of moths. The emerald green is exquisite. We have had a number of hummingbird moths visit us, and lots of mining bees. Olly and I have spent a large part of the weekend watching them. Have a super holiday with your fab bag.
    Leanne xx

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    1. I've been waiting for the Hummingbirds to arrive here but not seen one since May time. Glad they've been with you. xx

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