Of Moths and Mouths (or Beaks!)

I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger as I recall, waiting for news about the moth trap?  Ok. maybe not a cliffhanger, but I’m hoping that one or two of you have been wondering about it at least!

Setaceous Hebrew Character - yes, that's the name of a moth!

I ended up putting it out for 2 nights, which turned out to be a bit of a mistake -or maybe not depending on who’s side you are on…

It was a relatively clear night, which doesn’t always bode well for moth trapping, but it was quite still and warm so I had high hopes.. 

I have to be quite carfeul how I site the trap as the light is very bright so I have to ensure that it doesn’t shine directly on any of our windows (or the neighbours).  Even so, there is still quite a glow coming through the curtains throughout the night.

The moth trap - ready for action..

Next morning I was up nice and early to switch off the trap and put a cover over it to stop any moths from escaping before I got a chance to come out and check through them all.

Not a great haul, it was pretty much all Treble Lines, Heart and Darts, plus a single Setaceous Hebrew Character (What a great name for a moth!).

Treble lines - trying to look natural on a green leaf, and failing!

I had a bit of a play with my macro lens and added an extension tube to try and get some even closer images – but came a bit of a cropper and most were totally over exposed.  I’ve since found out it’s because the aperture is held wide open  when using an extension tube.  Back to the drawing board for a bit more theory and practice before I try that again!

I did get a few useful shots though so all was not lost, and as I was packing up I noticed one of my fave moths, resting on a leaf.

Mint Moth. Not meaning it's in great condition, Mint Moth is its name!

 Pyrausta aurata, or Mint Moth, is a dinky little day flying moth with a beautiful burgundy colour and gold spots on the forewings.  I have no idea why I like them, but it does make me smile when I see them whizzing around.  They are very small and difficult to keep in sight – so you’ll need sharp eyes to see them.

Anyway, I decided to put the trap out for another night in the hope that the catch might be a little better.

When I went out to switch it off the next morning I could hear a family of tits calling in the trees, and idly wondered if they might be the ones from the shed nestbox that fledged recently….

A little later as I contemplated how many moths I might have trapped while I sipped my cup of tea, whilst looking out of the window – I noticed movement around the trap..

The Great tit family are obviously quick learners, and had realised that there were quite few free meals to be had!  I watched as the adults came down, followed by 4 youngsters and started searching around for moths that had settled near the trap.  I think they over stepped the mark though when the male flew onto the trap and came away with a moth from inside the funnel!

Youngster (on the left) asking Dad for some more of those moth things from the fast food outlet in Spuds Garden!

Moth-wise, it was a slightly better trap.  In addition to the same species as the day before, there were also Shuttle shaped Dart ( I know, I know -but it does have a mark on it’s wing shaped like the shuttle used in cloth making in years gone by), a single Silver Y and best of all was a scalloped hook tip.

The Scalloped Hook Tip - quite happy to sit on it's egg carton.

I’ll try again in a few days or so as some of the moths can be pretty spectacular – but might have to wait until I’m sure the Great tits have moved on!

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