Thursday, 24 July 2008

Tiger in the Garden

The warmest day of the year, and there were a few butterflies around in the garden.

This is the first Small Tortoiseshell in the garden this year (the earlier one was indoors). Although I'm sure it must have found the Buddleia later all the time I was watching it kept landing on this fence post. I didn't see it tasting the wood, so it wasn't after some mineral on the surface.

The first Garden Tiger of the year is always a welcome treat. This one was very obliging, posing nicely for a picture. Last year I caught one on Aug 1st and one on Aug 6th. This moth returned several nights, despite the fact that I released it farther and farther from the trap. The last return was from over a mile! I look forward to seeing if this one will be a repeat detainee.

Many of the small moths that end up being trapped are in the group pf pyralids, known as grass moths. Many are very plain, but this little chap, Catoptria falsella, about 10mm long has a rather interesting pattern. The larvae feed on mosses, growing on walls.

When I first started mothing this species. The Least Carpet was quite scarce away the areas of Wealden Clay in south Essex, London, North Kent, Surrey and Sussex. In the last few years the distribution has expanded rapidly and it is being seen from Cornwall to the southern Midlands
It is only about 2cm across so it earns the name least.

Magpies (see yesterday), the other moth is Clouded Magpie, and the birds, three from Australia, Australian Magpie, Magpie Lark and Magpie Goose, and one from California, Yellow Billed Magpie.


floribunda said...

I think I found your blog originally through a bird link, but I'm now fascinated by the variety of moths! Could you describe the trap you use?

California (the only home of the yellow-billed magpie!)

Tony Morris said...

Hi Julie,
The traps are described on the post on 25th June 2007.