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Posts Tagged ‘identifying moths’

This year Moth Night takes place over 3 nights 9th-11th June, if you missed it last night you can still take part tonight or tomorrow night. Moth Night is organised by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation and is an annual celebration of moth recording throughout Britain and Ireland by enthusiasts with local events being held to raise awareness of moths.

Every year Moth Night has a theme, although recorders are always welcome and encouraged to do their own thing, this year’s theme is Hawk-moths.

Hawk-moths are spectacular, their name reflects their size and their powerful flight, in Britain there are 17 species of Hawk-moths, 9 are residents and 8 are migrants which fly from as far away as North Africa and the Canary Islands, not all of these moths fly at night the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk, the Broad-bordered Bee Hawk (which both resemble Bees) and the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (which hovers to feed from nectar plants and looks and sounds like a humming-bird) fly during the day.

Hawk-moth caterpillars are just as spectacular as the moths, you might even call them slightly frightening, with spots, stripes and a spike like a tail at the back, they vary in size from 4.5cm (Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk) to an alarming 12cm (Death’s head Hawk-moth) they overwinter as pupae in the ground below their food plant.

This picture shows an Elephant Hawk-moth caterpillar that we found in our garden in July 2014.

Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar July 14

This is what the caterpillar transformed into – a tropical looking Elephant Hawk-moth.

Elephant Hawk Moth

Last night we caught this Poplar Hawk-moth in our trap.

Poplar Hawk 10.6.16

This stunning Lime Hawk-moth was caught in the trap on Tuesday night it is a new species for us and we were very excited.

Lime Hawk 2 8.6.16 crop

If you want to read more on the Gardening With Children website about the moths that we have caught in our garden and how to make a simple moth trap click here.

You can take part in Moth Night in any way you choose, this might involve having a moth-trap in your garden or in the countryside, looking for moths at your kitchen window or at blossom, attending a public event, or travelling further afield to search for unusual species. You can still record a variety of species at light without a moth-trap by leaving outside and porch lights on after dark, check lighted windows and lit walls and fences for moths during the first two hours of darkness and again in the morning. Moth Night is a great opportunity to raise awareness about moths, so why not get family and friends involved in whatever you do?

Weather permitting let’s hope its a good weekend for Moths.

Gill

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Last week we managed to get away for a short break to Silverdale this is one of our favourite places and one we visit regularly throughout the year. The area has a diverse landscape (ancient woodland, flower rich meadows, limestone pavements and coastal saltmarshes) making it a haven for a large, varied and unique range of wildlife, Thomas is very interested in birds and saw a record number of species –  82 in total, but it was the Butterflies that really caught my attention especially the Brimstones which were dancing along the hedgerows.

Photograph of Brimstone from Butterfly Conservation website

Brimstones are quite big butterflies with leaf shaped veined wings which blend in well when they are resting amongst foliage, the females have pale green/white wings and the males have yellow-green underwings and yellow upperwings making them very easy to spot. In Spring the butterflies feed on Dandelion, Primrose, Cowslip, Bugle and Bluebell flowers which can often be found under hedges, the caterpillars feed on Buckthorn leaves.

Butterfly numbers have nearly halved in the last forty years, last year’s hot summer did boost numbers but there is a long way to go before their numbers return to a healthy and stable population. Butterfly Conservation is a charity dedicated to protecting butterflies, moths and our environment (www.butterfly-conservation.org) through conserving and creating habitats, recording and monitoring, raising awareness and encouraging  individuals and families  to get involved. On their website there is lots of information and pictures of Butterflies and Moths and a really useful guide to help you to identify which Butterfly or Moth you have seen.

This April 2014 Butterfly Conservation is offering half price membership (with the code GARDEN50 and paying by direct debit), plus the first 100 people to sign up will receive a free pack of seeds, either Phlox, Pot Marigold or Cornflower, these are not only lovely flowers but are known to attract a variety of Butterflies and Moths, like the Humming-bird Hawk-moth and Peacock, included in each new membership welcome pack is their new gardening book, which contains details of how to encourage Butterflies and Moths into the garden as well as general gardening information, this book is exclusive to members and not for sale anywhere.

Gardening for Butterflies and Moths

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see more Butterflies in your garden, this Easter keep a look out for Butterflies or why not become a member of Butterfly Conservation and help our beautiful Butterflies and Moths?

Happy Easter

Gill

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