Sunday, 13 August 2017

Aug 12th Strumpshaw Fen

Moth event at the Strumpshaw BBQ
It was the annual volunteer BBQ at Strumpshaw last night and as part of the entertainment we were treated to a moth evening of sorts. Two traps were set up during the night before with plenty of moths caught ready to show us all. One trap was placed in the woods and the other was placed in front of the Reception Hide to catch species found in the reed beds. Both traps were being shown at the same time with an expert warden talking through the species one trap each simultaneously. I torn to which trap to choose, so here's the highlights from both...

Poplar Hawk-moth

 The biggest moth found in both traps were these poplar hawk-moths. They are large, growing about 30-46mm, and they are unmistakable with their unique wing shape. Their wings are grey and brown with a single white spot on each. This is another common species that you can find in gardens and parks.

Garden Tiger
Another attractive moth that was found in both traps and in great number was the garden tiger. At rest, it is a brown and white, spotty moth, but when disturbed, it will reveal those bright orange underwings to scare off predators that might think of eating it. If you remember a couple of months back, I came across the very hairy woolly-bear caterpillars of this moth during one of my morning walks at Strumpshaw. It is amazing to think such a large caterpillar could develop into such a stunning medium-sized moth.

Gold Spot

There were several other beautiful species to look at and most of them were found in the fen trap. This included a few gold spots (named after the golden spots on the 'shoulders' of the wings, though the four white spots are more notable), burnished brass (the yellow patches that you can see are metallic and shiny) and (I think) a Lempke's gold spot (which is much paler than the other gold spot species and also much scarcer).

Burnished Brass
Lempke's Gold Spot?
Bulrush Wainscot

The fen trap also caught some special reed bed species. Most of which were from the wainscot family. Wainscots are mostly plain brown moths with a few spots on them. They do come in a number of shades of brown as well as various shapes and sizes, though, which can help identifying them slightly easier.

Webb's Wainscot
Smoky Wainscot
Here are the rest of the highlights from the two traps...

Drinker Moth
Canary-shouldered Thorn
Dusky Thorn
Pebble Prominent (with a Gold Spot behind it)
Large Yellow Underwing (left) and Clay (right)
Copper Underwing
Dingy Footman?
Mother of Pearl
Mother of Pearl
Pale Prominent

Sunset over Strumpshaw Fen

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