08 June, 2014

Big things in small packages

It's always nice to find something completely unexpected on a local patch, but it's just that extra bit nicer when it happens to be an orange moth called Commophila aeneana. Hundreds of these dazzling little micros were flying in an abandoned rose field yesterday evening, constituting what appears to be one of the few county records of a colony away from chalk...

Commophila aeneana- an unmistakable moth scarcely distributed in the southern counties, feeding on Ragwort.

The same rose field held Tree Pipit and Redstart last year, as well as various other notable invertebrates.

In all the excitement, I almost completely ignored a single flowering Pyramidal Orchid- a mystical beast of a plant at Stokes Field.

Stokes Field has always held a place close to my heart, not least because it's completely untouched in the way of entomological coverage, but also because I originally cut my ornithological teeth there; staring on in awe at the sight of my first local Nuthatch many years ago. Inevitably, being so accessible to the surrounding housing and with so little designated protection, the site has become dominated by dog walkers and nocturnal fun seekers, making it sometimes more of a hassle to visit than it's worth.

It's evenings like yesterday, with the last rays of sunlight illuminating the grass and enigmatic moths flying about, that make me question how my interest in this little oasis could ever wane...

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