Tuesday, 23 June 2015

22nd June - It Was All I Hoped It Would be

Spent the weekend split between two great sites, Saturday at Martin Down, and then Sunday afternoon walking again around Magdalen Hill Down.  Similar habitats but with greatly different results.  As a result the patch didn't get a look in, but with us in the middle of June I felt it was the right time to search further afield. 

The weather had not been too bad over the weekend but Monday morning arrived with  dark dull skies and a lot of rain.  Over the weekend we have been hearing the calls of a Fledgling Blackbird begging for food from its parents.  This morning its look and demeanour  pretty much summed up the feeling of most of us as we set off in the rain to work, fed up and desperate to find some shelter from the rain.

The area under the hydrangea bushes did provide some shelter, and it sat there for awhile.

But hiding there didn't seem the best way to get the attention of its parents so it came out into the open once the rain had eased off.

Because of the forecast for rain overnight Sunday I didn't put the moth trap out, but it was out over the weekend and it managed to find me a new moth for the garden,  Scorched Wing,

The name of this species is derived from the moth's resemblance to burnt paper. It is widely distributed in England and Wales, sometimes fairly commonly, but this is the first one I have seen.  The main flight period is May and June. The adults are attracted to sugar, but only usually the males to light.  When settled the abdomen of the male is pointed upwards.

There was a single Pale Tussock a moth caught earlier in the year, they vary in colour with the females generally larger and plainer in appearance. The males have more contrasting markings and are usually smaller. This one I think is a male.

Both exhibit the distinctive forward-facing 'furry' legs at rest.  

Another moth to vary in size is the Elephant Hawk-moth, I always think they should be larger than they are, and hope for the Small Elephant.  But the Small species has a full pink mark on the back whereas this one has the thin dashed line down the abdomen.

There were two Poplar Hawk-moths, it is now at the peak of their flying time.  I have obviously photographed them before, but as I handled this one it opened its wings and showed the chestnut colour on the hind wings, something you don't see when they are at rest.

Another first for the year was this Iron Prominent.  Common and widespread in southern counties where it may have two broods, but it is apparently scarce and more sporadic further north of the UK.  the caterpillars are found predominantly on birch trees

Then finally this moth for which the best identification I can decide on is a Feathered Bridle. My doubt comes about because the literature indicates that it occurs sporadically along the southern coastline of England from Suffolk to Cornwall, and also South Wales, and that the species inhabits a range of coastal habitats such as sandhills and shingle beaches.  In addition it is usually found flying from August to October.  None of which fit the time and place that this one was found in

On a final note as Helen and I were out on Sunday I remarked on the fact that so far this year I hadn't heard the Green Woodpecker calling, and maybe they haven't nested close by this year.  As we sat in the garden on Sunday afternoon not only did we hear a Green Woodpecker call several times but one also flew through the garden.  I will have to keep an eye out for the young on the lawns soon.

1 comment:

  1. Hi ChrisR,

    could you be so kind as to contact me about the usage of one of your pictures for a poster on a science festival?

    Kind regards


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