To avoid confusion perhaps I should say “Moth-ers” as I mean those interested in moths rather than the producers of off-spring. Although actually I would hope mothers and everyone else would be interested too as this is about not just moths but what kind of world we want to live in.
On Friday we ran a moth event at Blashford, sadly only one person turned up, which was a shame as we had our largest catch of moths this year. Two moth traps had been run overnight and we had caught almost ninety species, an illustration of the huge diversity of moth species flying at this time of the year. In addition I also run a trap in my own garden and altogether I have seen well over one hundred species in the last two days!
I will not list all the species, but we had some large and impressive species such as elephant hawk moth, poplar hawk moth and buff-tip, as well as lots of smaller but nonetheless beautiful ones. The many clouded border were interesting as none are exactly alike. We caught one new species for Blashford, another micro and again one of the Pyralids, Rhodophaea formosa, just like the previous new record featured in my last post. It is described in the book as “local, but perhaps spreading” and lives in hedgerows, so should not be short of habitat.
Personally it was my garden trap that caught the stand-out species though, a fine female four-spotted footman.
four-spotted footman, female
In the picture you can only see two of the spots, there are two on each fore-wing, making four in all, however it is usually males that are seen and they have no spots at all. The other notable species and one I rarely see, was the small chocolate-tip.
I am delighted to say that my one attendee at the moth “event” did seem to really enjoy it and went away inspired to make and run her own trap at home.
The huge diversity of moth species to be found, even in a suburban back garden shows us just how much wildlife is out there and which we hardly see, there is no part of even our built up cities that is not habitat for some species. Although nature reserves may hold the greatest range of species we need to consider everywhere as wildlife habitat. There is no need for industrial estates and corporate head quarters to be surrounded by closely mown carpets of rye grass, be bold, let some wild flowers grow, contribute something to supporting wildlife and save money on grounds maintenance into the bargain! There has been much in the press recently about providing for bees and other pollinators, but actually we could do this quite easily by just modifying mowing regimes and benefit lots of other wildlife at the same time. The local highways authorities could lead the way by setting an example with roadside verges and round abouts, many of which are still ruthlessly over mown. A truly Living Landscape needs these opportunities to be made the most of, if we give a little thought we can all make small space for wildlife and together make a big space and wildlife can be inspiring, as the moths in our traps demonstrated.
In more general Blashford news, the great white egret is occasionally being seen, usually outside Ivy North hide, on Ibsley Water there were at least 3 common sandpiper and in front of Tern hide a brood of three little ringed plover chicks.
Do something for wildlife today!