Moth-ing and Flowering!

Wednesday, May 28th 2014

If you had walked into the Field Centre this morning you would have heard the following conversations. "It has buds above the flower, try page256, no that is not it, it has purple bits, wrong time of year, what about the spots?" Rustling of pages, silence, then "It is Wild Turnip, no it is a carpet, can't be it doesn't have the right markings, tendrils are wrong."  No doubt you would have wondered what was going on, well you needn't have worried as it was moth morning and end of month flower walk morning.  Identifcation of various species of moths and flowers was taking place and everyone was being helpful!  It was a little confusing at times!

Identifying species

The weather was not particularly favourable for moths overnight but we did trap 19 moths of 14 species including Brown Silverline, Pale Prominent and Purple Thorn, shown below.

Purple Thorn

By this time of year the flower walk usually takes in most habitats on the reserve.  Today, with wellies, waterproofs and over trousers only specific flowers were visited.  As you walk through the Scrapes, on your left, in the willow carr, there is a bright yellow flower.  We had worries that it was Oil Seed Rape and we were ready to do a little weed control.  However Christine ID'd it as Wild Turnip and asked us to check, which we did this morning.  Although the flower was looking a little sorry for itself in all the rain, we confirmed her ID.  As they say, this is one I photographed earlier!

Wild Turnip

We were also looking at the European Larch cones.  They have grown considerably and debate took place as to the age of these cones.  Upon investigation they are from the red flowers seen earlier in the year.  They take between five to eight months to produce seeds and ripen.  The old cones can then remain on the tree for some time.

European Larch Cones

Part of our walk took us across the moor and this photograph shows the delightful conditions.

The moor

We passed the gen guards around the Yellow Rattle plants and were really pleased that we could see some of them in flower.  Also on the middle moor we recorded Lousewort, Meadow Buttercup and Pignut.

The weather conditions were not conducive to staying outside for long, but it was nice to know that we were not the only ones that did not appreciate the weather. Tadpoles, after days of swimming all over the ponds, were huddled together - to keep warm?

Huddling tadpoles

Thank you to everyone who helped with identification today, without your contribution our species data would not be complete.


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