Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Hunters and Hunted

At this time of year, when the sun is out, often one is ware of dark insects, flying like large floppy flies from one flower to another.

It is only when they settle down that it becomes apparent that they are in fact brightly coloured moths. Six-spot Burnet are members of a family of day flying moths, all found in grasslands, in various parts of the country.

The high sheen on the wings makes them not ideal to photograph in bright sunshine, but this one on the ground was much easier to get at a non-reflective angle. The adults are attracted to a wide variety of flowers such as knapweed and scabious as well as the larval food plants bird's foot trefoil and clover. The species overwinters as a larva.

A family of Corn Buntings were noisily "zitting" around the "big field". They were obviously catching insect and I saw wings protruding from a couple of bills. The one above looks as if it has caught a Silver Y, they are particularly plentiful at the moment. I though I saw another with a Painted Lady, which must be the most plentiful prey available at the moment.

There were about five or six around, which is good news as they obviously bred successfully. One kept breaking into little bursts of the song. it's difficult to know if this is a juvenile having a practice or the resident male still declaring his territory.

Mothing was poor last night but I did catch Two Garden Tigers again. One was the slightly worn one in the second picture from Sunday and I expected the other to be the first. I was a fresher specimen and looked very similar to the one from Sunday, but the shape of a couple of the spots was slightly different. It is quite useful,being able to compare the patterns in photos, I'm sure they are as distinctive as fingerprints if you look carefully.


margaret said...

That moth is sooooooo beautiful. I've always loved art nouveau since a little girl and it was such a great thing for me in my teens and 20s to live in the south of England and then in southern Europe and see all the fabulous moths and dragonflies and other insects that inspired it.

Warren Baker said...

Good to see the Corn Buntings thriving Tony.