Moths and…

Thursday, May 18th 2023

This blog was going to be moths only but an owl just has to have a mention.  On checking the nest box this female Tawny Owl was caught.  She had already been ringed and when her number was checked we found out that she was first ringed in Foxglove in 2014, so 9 years old!  The oldest owl was 23 years 5 months 27 days (set in 2016, not at Foxglove) but the typical life span is 4 years.  Last year she was nesting in a box further through the woodland.  She has moved house this year but still within the area where she was hatched, Foxglove.  She looks in very good condition.

Another intruder onto the moth blog is a juvenile Common Lizard.  We saw some young last year and they were quite small, so we wondered if they would survive the winter.  This one has.  It was sunbathing in the morning sunshine.  There was no sign of it this afternoon when the 'sun had gone to bed'!

Now to the moths!  Earlier in the week I was complaining that the Poplar Hawkmoth I had caught would not sit still.  Today we caught another and it sat exactly where I wanted it!  This photo shows the red parts of the underwing which the moth flashes when threatened.

But then there were two and they both sat still.

We also caught a male White Ermine moth and yes he is not white but cream.

Whilst trying to get him in a better position he ended up on his back, so I took the opportunity to photograph his abdomen which has spots along it.  It is also fluffy.  You can see his feathered antennae.  We soon had him the right way up.  The larvae feed on many herbaceous plants including Common Nettle and docks.

Another moth caught was Flame Shoulder.  Ribwort Plantain is one of the food plants of the larvae.

This beautiful moth is Buff-tip and looks rather like a bit of broken branch,

especailly head on.

We are not getting large numbers of moths yet but we have moved from the late winter/early spring moths, mainly brwons and greys in colour, to the spring moths, a bit more colourful, and as it is a year since we last saw them it is making our little grey cells work overtime identifying them.

Many thinks to the species recorders who visited Foxglove today.  A bee survey was carried out, also a butterfly survey, as well as the moths and Derek was identifying many insects.  Yesterday more moths were identified along with flowers and their distribution.  Nest boxes were checked.  A huge thank you to everyone involved; you make a valuable contribution to our data about Foxglove's species.

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