The Empress of Blashford

Last year we raised a number of emperor moth caterpillars, which then pupated and now the first of them has hatched out. The emperor moth is the only representative of the Saturniidae to be found in Britain and can often be seen on sunny spring days flying over open ground. These fast flying individuals are males searching for females. They are attracted by pheromones, sometimes form a kilometre or more away. This one is a female and we tried putting her outside the Centre in the sunshine to see if any males would come along. None appeared, but the temperatures were not high and it was rather windy, which makes it harder for the males to track down the females.emperor moth

Spring continues to arrive, Sunday saw the first reed warbler singing on the reserve and in the rain at the end of the day there were over 100 swallow and at least 6 house martin over Ibsley Water. Despite this some signs of winter remain, 10 or more brambling are still regular at the Woodland hide and the Slavonian grebe is still on Ibsley Water, although it is now looking magnificent in full breeding plumage.

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3 thoughts on “The Empress of Blashford

  1. Ah, so the Slavonian grebe hasn’t gone after all. I suppose it might be too much to ask to hang onto him/her till April 29th? So sad I can’t be there till then! I would surely recognise him/her in full summer plumage!
    The moth truly looks like an emperess in her magnificent coat. A delightful picture.

  2. Hiya …..Love all your posts and News Letters…..We would love to get a few photographs of the Emperor moth..would it be OK for us guys to pop down Thursday…The images would be to help promote the New Forest and would be posted on a few of their social media sites including ours New Forest Fauna and Flora? kind regards JC & Mrs B 

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