A glance at my notebook in which I record moths in my garden in Newport Pagnell shows very clearly that there have been some cold nights and not many moths recorded. Moths do not like cold, wind and rain and we have had some of all three since I last wrote. I was wondering what am I going to write about in these notes when a fellow mother came to my rescue. Andy Harding has permission from the owners (Bucks, Berks and Oxfordshire Wildlife Trust) and the Warden of Little Linford Wood to trap and record moths there and he asked if I would like to join him at opening up time on April 17th.
I am not sure either of us was expecting much judging by our results at our homes but what a surprise was in store for us. The white sheet upon which the trap had been placed had one on there to make us gasp. It was a Lunar-marbled Brown (pictured above). It is nationally regarded as a common species but in my 24 years of mothing in this area I have recorded it just 7 times. It’s caterpillars feed on Oaks of which there are plenty at Little Linford Wood.
There was better to follow because on an oak tree adjacent to the trap was a Frosted Green whose caterpillars are also oak feeders. This was a new moth for me.
There were 2 other moths that had us salivating, neither rare, but both rather nice to see. The first was a Water Carpet which I first saw in Northumberland in the 1980’s. The caterpillars of this moth feed on bedstraws.
The second was a Purple Thorn, a beautiful moth that manages to get through the life cycle of egg-caterpillar-pupa-flying insect twice in the year so watch these notes in August for a re-appearance.
Nature Reserves and land owned and managed by the Wildlife Trusts are very important for moths because the plants and trees upon which they rely during their life cycles should have some measure of protection. Moths themselves are very important not least because all parts of their lives provide food for other wildlife.
I need not have worried really about having moths to show and talk about because today, Good Friday, at Linford Lakes Nature Reserve, a Chocolate-tip. Just right for Easter I thought.
Text and photos kindly supplied by Gordon Redford.
- Lunar Marbled Brown and Frosted Green
- Frosted Green – side and top views
- Water Carpet
- Purple Thorn
Click here to read the previous edition of Moth Notes