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Moths Butterflies and a ‘Dragon’

Friday, September 3rd 2021

As autumn begins so the weather forecast is scrutinised and if the weather is acceptable the moth trap is put out.  The species change as the seasons change, and the numbers caught can decrease.  On Thursday morning when the trap was emptied the moths we see in autumn were present.

Autumnal Rustic is a beautiful moth and when freshly hatched often shows hints of red on its wings.  The caterpillars feed on a wide range of grasses and plants.

Frosted Orange is another autumn visitor to the trap.  The larvae feed internally in the wide stems of such plants as thistle and burdock, also pupating within the stem.

Although basically all the same colour the Rosy Rustic moth has a charm all of its own.  It can be assumed that caterpillars eat leaves, but some surprise us as in this case the larvae live on a range of low plants, but especially Dock, feeding beneath the ground on the roots.

Relatives of the moths are the butterflies.  Catching sight of them does depend on the weather!  Small Tortoiseshells have been seen in increasing numbers over the last two years.  The adults feed on many of the late summer flowers but do seem to enjoy the Water Mint.

Red Admirals are beginning to be recorded on Hemp Agrimony.

In the sunshine and warmth I watched as 'dragons' flew rapidly over the Scrapes ponds.  I waited with baited breath for any to settle but to no avail.  The best shot I took required some imagination that the tiny blue splodge was a dragonfly.  I will not say that I was jealous of Gerry's photo of a 'dragon', but.  A great photo Gerry.

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