Saturday, 3 October 2009

Thematic nature

In all sections of natural history one of the fascinating areas as how similar groups have evolved different species. In birds one of these is the wheatears, in butterflies the fritillaries and at the moment the group of moths I'm seeing is the sallows. The first I caught this year was the Centre Barred Sallow, then The Sallow and now the Barred Sallow. There are a four others, in the past I've caught a few Dusky-lemon Sallows and one each of Orange and Pink-barred, but never the much rarer Pale-lemon Sallow, so fingers crossed for the next couple of weeks.

Barred-sallow (Xanthia aurago)

The Satellite (Eupsilia transversa)

As I have said before the naturalists in the past have had great imaginations when it came to naming moths. This one is called the Satellite and the two small white dots at the corners of the larger half moon shapes obviously caught the eye of the namer of this species. It emerges around the end of September and in the right weather conditions can be seen throughout the winter. The caterpillars feed on various trees and also also have a carnivorous tendency towards larvae of other species.

Birds The wind today was very off putting but did bring a few seabirds. I saw quite a few Mediterranean Gulls, but the guys who stuck it out down in the bay counted an incredible 169 as well as a good selection of other seabirds. (click on seabirds to see the list). An intriguing development this evening is the appearance of a picture of a Hoopoe on Surfbirds, taken at St Margaret's at Cliffe today, see here. If any one knows where abouts it was taken I'd love to know.

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