Monday, 3 March 2008

The Mothing year starts.

The bird watching scene has been very quiet this last few days and we are now getting towards the time when, as well as a rush of bird migrants some butterflies and moths will be around. There are a few species of moths that are around through the winter, but either I'm unlucky or I don't try hard enough, it don't seem to get any records until March has started.

So for the last couple of nights I've run a 15w Actinic trap, and last night I managed to get my first record for the year, two Hebrew Characters. Moths have some very descriptive names but my knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet doesn't allow me to identify the letter.

Nigel Jarman, down the road at Kingsdown, caught two other species as well, a Common Quaker and a Clouded Drab, both close relatives of the Hebrew Character. Not a fantastic catch but let's hope it will be the start of a good year. 2006 was a record year with lots of migrants, yes moths will travel long distances, but last year was the worst since I started here seven years ago. Tonight I put out a second trap, the more powerful MV light in the hope of catching more. The forecast is for colder weather so the prospects are not good.

This is a Hebrew Character, a smallish moth, about 15mm long. The caterpillars will eat several different plants including Hazel and Birch.

The Clouded Drab above lives up to its name in appearance.

This is a Common Quaker, it is a variable species but they always have those characteristic large pale-outlined oval and kidney marks.

1 comment:

Warren Baker said...

Fascinating things moths, keep your records coming Tony. I can learn a thing or two.