Sunday, 7 July 2013

7th of July: Moths, moths and more moths

The vast majority of people believe moths to be the dull night flying relatives of butterflies. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Just take a look at these brightly-coloured moths we caught last night using a Robinson moth trap.

A particular favourite is the Elephant Hawkmoth, pictured below beside a Small Elephant Hawkmoth to emphasise the size difference. They are so-called because their caterpillar resembles the trunk of an elephant - in colour, not size!

In our previous blog post we mentioned Cinnabar moth caterpillars. Last night we caught 13 Cinnabar moths. These moths are distinctively coloured and are day flyers.

Pale lemon coloured and equisitely shaped is the Swallow-tailed moth. Named after the bird because of its forked tail.

Amongst the moths trapped was this Drinker. We often find their caterpillars feeding on Marram grass amongst the sand dunes.

Often moth's names relate to their wing markings, such as the Angle Shades:

For any moth enthusiasts, our other records included 14 Lime-speck Pugs, 7 Common Footman, 25 Tawny Shears, 4 Dark Arches, 8 White Colons, 4 Broad-barred Whites and 3 Bright-line Brown-eyes.

It has been a wonderful, sunny weekend here on Blakeney Point. Such conditions are good news for young chicks and ideal for hatching, unlike cold, wet and windy weather, which can be detrimental to their survival. Unfortunately the sunny weather led to increased human disturbance, for example people getting too close to seals on the West Sands and dog walkers not obeying seasonal dog restrictions. The dog restrictions have been put in place to protect vulnerable ground-nesting birds, please observe these restrictions.

Thanks to the blue skies, there were countless photo opportunities. We took full advantage with the National Trust video camera and hope to share the results with you in the not-too-distant future.

- Ajay and Paul

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