Friday, 12 June 2015

12th June - I Will Wallk...With My Shadow Flag

The garden is now looking wonderful, the rockery has burst into flower and the bees have taken to the Salvia purple spikes and the Lavender.  A wander around the garden in the evening can de-stress you quite quickly.  I call this the "dragon stump".



The waterfall is once again fully operational and always adds a sense of wilderness to the surrounding.


Once again this year we have left the bottom of the garden as a "no mow" area, and have planted more wild flowers.  For the moment the buttercups are taking over but it won't be long before the others begin to fight back.


Thursday was a lot warmer than the rest of the week, but still with a fresh breeze, but after the sun set the sky turned a wonderful deep purple blue with streaks of red and orange and the wind eased.  Perfect conditions for moths and the trap was duly put out.


There had been the chance of overnight thunderstorms but these did not materialise, but as I emptied the trap early in the morning it had become overcast and there was the odd spot of rain about.  Later on thunderstorms were forecast.

For once the trap was interesting, not bulging with moths but there was definitely some quality, and as usual something that I struggle to identify.

There were four Privet Hawk Moths in total, always lovely to see and handle as they grip your skin so tight.


Beautiful moths are largest in the UK with a wingspan of up to 12 centimetres.


Next out was one of my favourites the Elephant Hawk Moth.  Getting its name from the larvae or caterpillar that in colour and relative shape looks like a small elephant.

From the pictures you would expect them to be large but in fact they are only a medium sized moth, typically having a wing span of 50–70 mm.  

The adult feeds at night, and often takes nectar from garden plants like Honeysuckles and petunias, so it is quite often seen in urban settings in the evening.  It can be seen on the wing between May and July.


Moving down in size the Pebble Prominent.  A common species, occurring throughout the British Isles, appearing as an adult between May and August in either one or two broods depending on latitude.

It frequents a range of habitats, but has a preference for damper localities, where the caterpillars feed on sallow and poplar, non of which are found around here!.


Like other prominents, rest with their wing held tightly over their body.


The first Buff Tip of the year.  When at rest, the adults of this species bear a remarkable resemblance to a broken twig of silver birch.

The species is widely distributed throughout Britain, and quite common, especially in the southern half.


Now this one has had me completely confused.  It is likely that it is a Brocade or even maybe a minor, such is the immense variation in some of the markings and colour of those moths.  However the thin black curved lines on the forewings should aid identification but in all the books and photographs I can't find anything that looks similar.  Over to anyone out there with any thoughts.


This one is known as the Flame. The adults rest with the wings wrapped around the body and closely resemble a broken piece of twig.  A common species over most of Britain, it inhabits woodland fringes, hedgerows and suburban habitats, and flies mainly in June and July


Finally my moth of the night, a Puss Moth.  The Puss moth is covered with soft cat-like fur, hence the name Puss moth. The striking nature of the beautiful black and grey marbled markings, make it quite an easy moth to identify.


The hind wings are light grey and in the females they are almost transparent. The body is whitish-grey and bears black bands on top of the abdomen.  The wings here were transparent making this one a probable female.


Fairly widespread throughout the UK, Puss moths can usually be seen flying at night between the months of May and July. As herbivores, they mainly eat leaves from trees such as poplar, sallow and willow (again not in this garden!).

Their furry appearance makes them very endearing.


So at last the moths are beginning to appear, but once again the forecast for next week is for cold nights, lets hope the moths put on their pullovers and remain about.

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