Sunday, 5 July 2015

Marvellous Mothing

The recent hot weather and warm evenings have been perfect for mothing and the trap has been full of all sorts of lovely moths every morning. Catching hawk moths is always the most exciting, as they tend to be large, elegant moths and Bug Mad Girl loves to hold them. On Friday morning we had an elephant hawk moth and a small elephant hawk moth. They're both pink and olive coloured with similar markings, but the small elephant is, well, smaller.

Elephant Hawk Moth

Small Elephant Hawk Moth
Other highlights from the evening were eleven buff ermines, a blood vein and a small emerald.

Blood vein

2 of the 11 buff ermine moths

Small emerald
When we let them go, we try to hide the moths away in the bushes as the birds have come to recognise the moth trap and see it a an easy meal. We hid the two elephant hawk moths deep inside the stems of some plants, but one of them took off straight away and started feeding on the flowers, looking like a pretty pink humming bird. It was really lovely, sitting on the grass watching it feed from flower to flower, then suddenly one of our very cheeky sparrows flew out of a tree and snatched it mid air. It landed on the grass in front of me and ate it!  I was devastated and felt really guilty!! I do love the sparrows, but not when they do things like that!

The elephant hawk moth hidden away safely in the bushes
Small elephant hawk moth looking lovely feeding on the flowers ...

... and now he's a sparrow's lunch!  How guilty did I feel!!
There was another bumper load of moths in the trap this morning, including another elephant hawk moth and a stunning privet hawk moth.

We also caught a waved black, which is a nationally scarce moth whose caterpillars feed on fungi.

The other highlight from the trap this morning was a mayfly, a relative of the dragonfly, with beautiful wings and a long three pronged tail.


A few of this mornings other moths ...

Barred straw - with its bottom stuck up in the air

Beautiful hook tip

Brimstone moth and a marbled coronet

A brown-line bright-eye (not to be confused with a bright-line brown-eye)

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