Sunday 17 July 2016

In Praise of Moths

Lade - warm, dry, cloudy, w 2 - It actually began to feel like summer this weekend as a pulse of humid air smothered this corner of England making for perfect moth trapping conditions. In the garden trap two more Sussex Emeralds were recorded amongst 38 species, with Tawny Shears the most numerous.
  When I started running a moth trap down here ten years ago I never imagined how hooked I would become on these fascinating creatures; just look at the four stellar examples below that fluttered into the trap recently to see what I mean. From the subtle pinkish hues of Blood-vein to the chocolate box of the Tiger and the velvet cloaked Eggar, their beauty to the human eye is beyond compare. How evolution has come up with such wonder and variety is incomprehensible, but it has, and I can fully understand the increasing interest in this fascinating Order of insects.
  On Friday evening I sat in the garden and watched a couple of small bats, presumably Pips, fluttering over the fir trees and taking insects rising off the canopy, the first I`ve seen this summer.


                                Garden Tiger

                               Oak Eggar

                                Sussex Emerald

  On Saturday morning the old railway track was alive with grassland butterflies, Small Skippers and Small Coppers being particularly abundant, along with a variety of grasshoppers and crickets. On south lake the first brood of Tufted ducklings was out on the water and all of a sudden second broods of Cootlets and Mallard duckling were obvious, along with numerous Great Crested and Little Grebe chicks.

                               First Tufted ducklings of the summer

                               Common Darter and Frog, Plovers garden

  Around the garden pond a Common Frog showed well, more Marbled Whites fluttered over from the shingle grasslands and a Common Darter basked atop the bird table.Throughout the weekend a trickle of overflying Yellow Wagtails headed south, along with the obligatory parties of Sand Martins over the lakes, plus a Common Sandpiper today.

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