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Moths, Dates, Seeds and Sunshine

Thursday, June 7th 2018

What a mixture for the title of today's blog, but read on.

The moth trap was emptied yesterday and we recorded Poplar Hawkmoth, Flame Shoulder and a Cinnabar Moth amongst the catch.  We usually see the caterpillars of the Cinnabar Moth feeding on Ragwort.

Cinnabar moth caterpillar on Ragwort

It is amazing that these black and yellow characters change into black and red moths!

Cinnabar Moth

Occasionally the moth trap is put out on other evenings.  This morning there were not too many moths in the trap.  A White Ermine male, as it was yellow coloured, sat just as I wanted it to, to show its underside.

White Ermine male

A Lesser Swallow Prominent also obliged, showing off his beautiful markings.

Lesser Swallow Prominent

I am going to be confident and say that this is a Silver Y moth, and then await comments that I have incorrectly ID'd it.  One of the characteristics of this moth is that it rarely sits still and always, sorry that should be nearly always, has its wings fluttering.  This one sat perfectly still.

Silver Y

We always check the Field Centre as many moths are attracted by the security lights.  I was disappointed that there were none, until I spotted some large wings just within my reach.  I was so excited to find that it was an Eyed Hawkmoth.  It co-operated so I was able to take several photos of this most beautiful moth.  You can just see a tiny piece of the 'eye' under the right wing.  If the moth is threatened it moves it wings to expose the eye and so scare any predator.

This moth has been recorded only four times in over 25 years, the last date was 10th June 2009.

Eyed Hawkmoth

If you are interested in these fascinating insects then you are welcome to join in with the event 'Meet the Moths' on Saturday 4th August at 0730.  More details on the events page.

Whilst talking dates could I remind you that it is the Foxglove Coffee Morning in Richmond Town Hall on Thursday 14th June 2018.  Again more details on the events page.

Some volunteers may well remember clearing many stones from the area at the head of the Sycamore Avenue, near the moor, which was then ploughed and sown with a seed crop for birds. The seed has to be sown every year and we are just beginning to see a hint of green as this year's crop starts to germinate.

Bird seed crop area

Germinating seeds

Many visitors, some who come regularly, some new and some who return each time they holiday in this area, enjoyed the warmth as they explored the reserve.  A U3A group had a short talk and a walk around the reserve before having their lunch outside in the sunshine. 

Volunteers were hard at work, checking the camera links to the Field Centre TV and ensuring that the net rides are ready for CES.  Thank you for all your hard work.

And finally, the shade from the Hawthorn was welcomed by Lark and Taurus, although they soon moved off to browse.

Lark and Taurus


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