Moths!

Sunday, March 27th 2022

Organisation for the visit of the students took in a debate about the moth trap.  Weather forecasts were consulted, all said that it was going to be cold,  but we decided to go ahead and put it out.  A white sheet was placed over one of the picnic tables outside the Field Centre and the trap placed on top.  A few moths would have been acceptable.  We certainly did not expect 101 moths of 14 species!

Oak Beauty flies from late February through to April, having survived the winter as a pupa underground.  The males have feathered antenna, which they sometimes need to clean.

The Satellite moth may also have orange spots.  Both were caught but only one co-operated by sitting still for a photograph.  There is one generation of moths and the adults fly from October through to late April.  During mild winter weather they become active and feed from Ivy flowers and berries including those of Guelder Rose.

When identifying moths we look at how they sit and hold their wings.  The identification book we use shows them in their usual position.  When they sit differently it can make life interesting.  This Yellow Horned Moth spread its wings but did show its antenna.

This is the way it should rest.  The larvae feed on Silver and Downy Birch.

March Moth is a rather slim moth, sitting with its wings overlapping.  It flies from late January to April.  The larvae feed from many deciduous trees.

Unfortunately scrutinised weather forecasts suggest more cold nights to come so the moth trap will no doubt not be making another appearnace just yet.  Thank you to Tim for the moth photographs.

And finally nature does have a mind of its own.  Visitors asked if there were any Common Frogs around, no they have finished spawning and it is Common Toad time.  Walking through the Scrapes listening to the high pitched call of the toads, there was another call, much lower, a frog croak?  No.  When the water was scanned sure enough there was a frog calling!


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