Friday, June 26th 2020
When emptying the moth trap one brightly coloured moth stood out, a Garden Tiger moth. The number of these moths has declined since the 1980s, probably due to spraying and the tidying up of hedgerows, where many herbaceous plants grow that are food for the larvae. Once placed on a mossy log it sat still and was very co-operative, opening its forewings to show the colourful hindwings. This is a slightly early sighting as it usually flies in July and August.
Buff Arches is a beautiful moth, on the wing from late June through to early August. Its food plants include Blackberry of which there are plenty on the reserve and Dewberry of which there is none. In captivity the larvae will feed on Raspberry, again plenty of this throughout the reserve.
Buff-tip moths can be so well camouflaged as they look like a broken twig. Unfortunately it decided to sit at right angles to the twig rather than along it, spoiling the effect! It overwinters as a pupa in an earthen cell.
One moth was removed from the trap and it did not look familiar at all. Careful searching in the moth book, soon revealed this to be a Beautiful Snout. The information gleaned was interesting. This moth is on the wing from late May to early August, depending on altitude. The larvae feed on Bilberry and this is not recorded on the reserve, although there is plenty on the training area. In Kent, Bilberry is absent and the food plant is unknown although another area has reported the larvae feeding on Heather. Single moths may be found a long way from their usual habitat of open woodland, moorland and heathland. The trap had been left at the end of net ride 28, which has had conservation management work carried out over winter and the area is now more open and free from larger trees.
This moth was first recorded in Yorkshire in 2001. Its range is spreading and there are possible migrants recorded at coastal sites.
Unlike the Garden Tiger - it went that way! when released from its container, but as we have learnt, you always take a photograph in the container before trying to release it on a leaf or branch! This is the first new species of 2020 for the reserve. Details will be sent to the moth recorder for VC65.
A white sheet is placed underneath the moth trap when it is set. Usually there are some moths to see on the sheet when the trap is emptied, not so this time. A little odd. Jump to emptying the egg cartons and I wondered if this was the culprit!
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