Moth Night 2016

Ran the light trap and had possibly the best catch of the year so far – hope it is as good for the “Moth” event that Bob is leading tomorrow morning, 10-11am!

For me at least the catch of the day was this goat moth:

Goat moth by JDay R

Goat moth (and background flame beneath and behind it)

The Goat Moth allegedly gets its English name because the caterpillar has a strong ‘goaty’ aroma. Although the adults are rarely caught in the light trap we know that they are a relatively common species as the large, intestine like (I think!), pinky red caterpillars are commonly encountered lumbering around the reserve in search of somewhere to pupate during late summer. As a result I’ve sniffed plenty and not smelt a goat yet, but maybe the smell is only produced if they feed on a particular type of tree – after hatching the caterpillars burrow into the trunks of various deciduous trees, including willow which would seem to be the tree of choice for Blashford goat moth caterpillars, where they feed on the wood. Because of the long digestion period required for their choice of food, the larvae often live for up to five years before pupating.

Also in the trap today, to name but a few, were peach blossom, buff tip, light brocade, heart and dart, privet and poplar hawk moths, light emerald, common wave, sharp angled peacock, flame, lesser swallow prominent, green carpet, dingy shell, white and buff ermine…

Other news this week includes a rather unusual sighting of a peregrine falcon dropping in to Woodland Hide briefly, and at Tern Hide there has been what, to me at least, looks like a drake scaup for the last couple of days (David Cuddon kindly sent me the pictures below so someone more knowledgeable than I can confirm it). Also at Tern Hide there have been at least three rather cute balls of lapwing chick fluff running around, a family of mandarin with 6 ducklings on the Clearwater Pond near Goosander Hide and the mute swans resident on Ivy Lake have 6 cygnets  on Ivy Silt Pond this morning where a grass snake is also being seen almost as regularly as the one on the tree stumps outside Ivy South Hide!

Possible scaup by David CuddonPossible scaup rear view by David Cuddon

Thanks David!

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2 thoughts on “Moth Night 2016

  1. The “scaup” is a hybrid looking rather like a lesser scaup (a North American species), the small crest is the give away here. It caused me some excitement on Thursday when I first saw it as lesser scaup would have been a new bird for Hampshire. I got a couple of terrible pics of it, these are excellent.

    And, yes I hope there are moths tomorrow as well!

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