29 April, 2011

Wanna See Some Moffs?

Wanna See Some Moffs?

... Well, you don't have a choice.

The scorching weather we've been enjoying this April has meant that many moths have been emerging from their chrysalis stage earlier than they would normally do, and when the garden would usually be totally devoid of any night life, this month has been ticking over nicely, with a number of species being seen that I never would have expected...
 
Not least of these, the superb Great Prominent. A massive beast of mature oak woodland...


At the other end of the size scale, an Ochreous Pug. A moth of coniferous woodland, with a cool name to boot...


Waved Umber, a common species in gardens in the South...


One of my favourite moths of Spring, the highly distinctive Brimstone. This is another common garden species which anyone can expect at lighted windows...


And now for something a little bit rarer. Are you ready for this? You are? Are you sure? Ok... a Buttoned Snout!


... Proaaarrr, that is one heck of a moth. Its declining state means that its a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Unusually, the main stronghold for this species is in gardens, where it can be found in mid-spring after hibernation. I found it whilst watering the garden, so if you've got nothing to do, then get the hose out and prance around the garden with a net... you never know (clothes are optional).

Slightly less rare than the above, Lunar Marbled Brown is a common species in the garden in spring...


And who could overlook the smaller 'micro' moths...

Bucculatrix nigricomella...


Not quite such a struggle to identify, the Garden Pebble is bigger than many 'macro' moths...


I was quite surprised when I looked through my photos of this Caloptilia syringella at how intricate the details are on its wings. It seemed pretty dark and colourless when looked at normally...


Cydia strobilella- a silvery, sparkly Surrey scarcity, known from only 5 other sites in the county. Found it flying around the borders one sunny afternoon. The larvae feed on Norway spruce, and the species presence in the garden might just be explained by a whoopin' great big Norway spruce two doors down... just a possibility.


I'm actually quite pleased with myself recently, as I haven't put the moth trap out now for a week.

The withdrawal symptoms are coming on fast though- I keep glancing up at the nearest light just to make sure I haven't missed a Death's Head Hawk-moth sneeking past me, and bed time reading is currently Townsend and Waring's 'Concise Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland', although its quite hard to read, because I may have accidently spilt cereal over it one morning in my excitement at seeing the illustration of a Kentish Glory.

1 comment:

Dean said...

Some Cracking species there, Bill. Waved Umber is making its way north, with one being seen in the next town. Hopefully one will turn up on my patch.