Moths and Butterflies

Wednesday, July 24th 2019

Before I start on the moths and butterflies, information arrived on email saying 'Chicks all OK!  Seen all four wee heads!'  This is great news.

The butterfly survey was carried out by Catherine, Abigail and Kate.  The final count was 311 butterflies - an amazing number but probably not surprising given the temperature.  Small Skippers have been scarce so far this summer, but not today with 62 recorded.  Small Tortoiseshells are showing themsleves and numbers seem to be recovering after their poor year in 2017.

Commas are not see very often and not in great numbers but one was recorded on the walk.

As usual at this time of year the Ringlet butterflies outnumber everything else, with 188 counted.  The final list contained 11 different species.  All of the data is sent to the VC 65 butterfly recorder.  First and last sightings are sent to another recorder.

It was also moth morning.  With storms forecast from about 5am the timers were set to turn off before that, for safety.  The rain had not read the weather forecast as it rained much earlier.  This did not stop the moths.  There were moths all over the back wall of the Field Centre as well as two traps full of moths.  Moths were caught and then taken inside for identification.  

This was a most unusual moment, everyone was quiet, studying the moths in the hand.

It did not last, the conversations soon began.  It must sound very strange to visitors in the Field Centre.  'It's a Muslin something or a something Muslin.'  'Look for its green hairband.'  'Got it!'  'What?' 'Large Yellow Underwing, its got the two marks.'  'Add another four Mottled Beauties.'  At times Chris had a hard job keeping up with us.  The moth total came to 263 moths of 64 species.  This data is also forwarded to the moth recorder for VC65.

Once all had been ID'd and released those we wanted to photograph were taken outside in the shade.  Although carefully placed on leaves, several found their own places, not always the best for a photograph.  The Snout was released onto a log but decided it was much better under one of the picnic tables.

The Barred Yellow decided the underside of a leaf was a much better place to sit, so it had to be turned over carefully.

Mature Scots Pine are the preferred larval food plant of the Bordered White.  This is a male with the feathery antennae.

Thank you very much to all the volunteers who helped today, identifying, searching and photographing the butterflies and moths. 

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Wildlife Craft Activity - Build a Butterfly Feeder

Wednesday 21st August 2019 | 10.00am - 12.00 noon

Help out the butterflies by making a special feeder. You can take it home for your garden or leave it at the reserve. This is a drop in session so no need to book in advance. A donation of £3 per child would be appreciated on the day.

Moth Identification Morning

Saturday 24th August 2019 | 08.00

Join Charlie Fletcher (County Recorder for moths) as he identifies hundreds of moths that have been caught in the overnight traps across this site. As the traps are emptied Charlie will be telling us all about these beautiful creatures, while giving us helpful identification tips.

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