Tuesday, 18 April 2017

April 18th Weeting Heath

My emperor moth hunt has begun. Emperors are the largest and one of the most beautiful moths in the UK and despite being widespread, I have never seen one before. It is high on my invertebrate target list this year. They have already been recorded at many sites across Norfolk, including Weeting Heath, where we are today. To increase my chances of seeing an emperor, I have even brought a pheromone lure to draw one in. Unfortunately, it turned out to be a rather cold and windy day when we got there, terrible conditions for emperors to fly in. So it was a bit of a wasted trip for them in the end.

Oblique Striped Moth

Though the emperors were a no show, I did, however, managed to see some moths while I was at Weeting. The volunteers showed me a few that they caught last night. Amongst their small collection was an oblique striped moth, which apparently is a Breckland specialty. The other moths that were handed to me to look at were pretty common in comparison, but still worth looking at. Obviously, it would have been ten times more exciting if one of them was an emperor, but I guess I will try my luck on a better day for them.

Lesser Swallow Prominent
Muslin Moth
Grey Pine Carpet
After being shown the moths, Mum and I went to the hides to see what was about. The stone curlew fields were absolutely empty, not just of stone curlews but rabbits too. It was kind of strange to not see a single rabbit here of all places. I was later told that there has been an epidemic of a number of diseases effecting the reserve's rabbit population. This is bad news for Weeting's stone curlews as the rabbits create the desired habitat for these rare birds to nest in by over-grazing the landscape. I just hope this doesn't lead to losing these birds completely from this site.

Before you start thinking that we didn't see anything but a few moths in pots, there were birds to be seen from the smallest hide overlooking a set of feeders. Yellowhammers, nuthatches, marsh tits, goldfinches and a grey squirrel were very obliging in having their photos taken while they feasted on what was provided for them.

Great Tit
Marsh Tit
Grey Squirrel with Yellowhammer
Grey Squirrel

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