Ninety One

Wednesday, April 18th 2018

It seems like years and years since we last had the moth trap out and caught more than three or four moths.  The warmth last night brought out the moths and we counted 91 of 11 species - absolutely great.  We collect the moths from the trap and place them into containers.

Collecting the moths

Once they are all accounted for we move inside and begin the identification process.  Everything starts on one table and once it is recorded it is placed on another table, so we don't get mixed up.  Those we need to photograph are placed behind us, whilst those that need further examination go on the window ledge.

IDing the moths

Moths have their season, so some of these moths had not been seen for nearly a year so we had to brush up on our ID.  There were comments like 'I know what that is but don't know its name!'  'What about page 132, top right?'  'Has it got a splodge, or a dot?'  'What about a line?'  After a little while our expertise (!) returned.  Once all the moths have been ID'd and photographed they are released.

Once everything is recorded, the moths are photographed and I must admit that they all co-operated!

Photographing the moths

This beautiful moth is Early Grey.  Several species of moth caught during the winter do not feed but it was interesting to find that several of those caught today, including Early Grey, feed on willow catkins.

Early Grey

When we were releasing one of these moths we realised it had a sort of top knot!

Early Grey

The Chestnut moth has a flight season from late September through to May.  In autumn it feeds on Ivy and overripe berries, but in spring, feeds from willow catkins.

Chestnut moth

Hebrew Characters can vary in colour and the black character can also vary in thickness.  Three sat very still whilst photogrpahs were taken, to show some of the differences.

Hebrew Character Moths

I always think that the Clouded Drab lives up to its name.  Once released onto some logs we 'lost' it!  After careful looking it was found next to some dead leaves and was extremely well camouflaged.  For variety this moth also feeds from Blackthorn flowers, which are just opening, as well as willow catkins.

Clouded Drab

 Not satisfied with all the moths in the trap we actually found two more as we walked around!  From a well camouflaged one to one that stood out, Grey Shoulder Knot on the Beech Fence.  According to the information this is quite common for this moth.

Grey Shoulder Knot

A tiny micro moth with red markings was found in the Bird Cherry leaves, although the photograph taken was not very good, it should be enough to ID it.

Examining a micro moth in Bird Cherry

There were many other species found today, some new to the reserve, some old friends, that we see every year.  More information about these at the weekend.

Thank you to everyone who helped today, it was a spectacular day. 


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