Saturday, 21 June 2008

Mothing at Sandwich Bay - Part 1 People and Flowers

Last night there was Mothcount Event at Sandwich Bay. First Sean Clancy led a small group of us along the side of the golf course to look of three of the locally found moth species.

We were looking for Rest Harrow, Oblique Striped and Bright wave, we found 20+ of the first, two of the second but none of the last.

As well as the moth, which I will blog about later, we also were treated to some great views of the flora. One of the more fascinating families are the Broomrapes. This one is Bedstraw or Clove Scented Broomrape. Broomrapes are parasitic and they lack chlorophyll and hence any green colouration, and their leaves are vestigial. Most species are highly host-specific, sometimes restricted to a single host species or genus. This species is a parasite of bedstraw Galium species, especially Lady's Bedstraw (G. verum) and has a strong scent of cloves. In the UK it is only found on the East Kent Coast.

Pyramidal Orchids are numerous here and although they are a common species they are still a magnificent site.
Much less common nationally is the Lizard Orchid, but here there are some great specimens, and as it was getting dull in the evening light there scent, a sort of "animal house in the zoo" smell came through.
As darkness fell we returned to the observatory and six moth traps were set up. When I've got the full list of what was caught I'll post a summary.

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