Thursday, 29 April 2010

Old friends, new friends

At long last a few different species have started appearing in my moth traps. Mostly old friends, but possibly a new species for the garden, if confirmed.

The Early Thorn is probably the dullest of the thorns but it does have an interesting shape!

The Pebble Prominent is the first out of this family of furry moths. The adult moths of this family don't feed, so are not attracted to flowers or sugar, but the males, and occasionally the females do come to light.

The Muslin is a member of a family that includes Tigers and Ermines. It is probably the dullest of those occurring in the UK, although it does have a very furry head.

Turn it over and the underside is much more striking. The first date last year was April 14, so it was a bit behind schedule.

The White Ermine is another member of this family. The one appeared just two days later than the first last year. Comparisons are difficult because whether a moth is attracted to light is affected by so many different factors. The phase of the moon, the amount of cloud cover, the daytime temperature and the night temperature all have their influence on the behaviour of moths, varying with each species.

Like the Muslin Moth the underside of the body has a striking pattern, although it is difficult to know if this has a purpose.

This Badger came early to night, and I don't think it is one of the regulars. It was a bit damp, and that does change their appearance a bit, but none of our regulars show the dark shawl that this one does. It did seem a bit nervous and left some peanuts for the nest visitor.

Brush Tail turned up a bit later. I think that makes four individuals that are visiting us. I feel it is a real privilege to be able to see these beautiful animals at close range and hopefully give them a little bit of help in an increasingly hostile world for them. It is almost impossible to drive more than a few miles down the A2 without seeing a Badger body, so I don't begrudge them the odd bit of digging in the garden, at least they are safe there.

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