Thursday, 29 April 2010

A Moth with an Identity Crisis?

The last couple of days have been pretty quiet for birds with almost no sign of any arrivals or birds passing through. There has been a good bit of activity though with the arrival of Compostcam and Woodpeckercam to add to Pondcam. I will post more about these later, hopefully with a link. For those that copied the address when I posted it earlier I have to apologise as it now seems to have failed following a power cut today.

Although quiet for birds another warm night was good for moths, highlights included a Herald, another species which has over-wintered as an adult, but this one looked amazingly fresh considering it is probably at least seven months old. The jagged outline of the wings no doubt helps to hide their outline from being recognised by predators during the long hibernation period. Another moth in the trap was a Small Engrailed, this moth is very like the Engrailed, in fact so alike are they that there are no really certain character for telling them apart and it has been suggested that they are not different species at all. You might ask why they could be thought separate species and the answer is in the time they fly. Engrailed moths have two broods, one in late winter and one in late summer, the Small Engrailed flies in mid-late spring, between the two broods of the Engrailed. It has been suggested that the one is just a single brooded form of the other, but if they stick to their timing the two populations will never meet to inter-breed so would be reproductively isolated giving them a fair claim to species status. The picture shows the moth to be not the most exciting to look at but a source of interest and perhaps even controversy for all that.
Having said there were few birds a White Wagtail on the shore of Ibsley water at lunchtime with a group of, presumably migrant, Pied Wagtails was of note. The Common Terns are competing for raft space with Canada Goose, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Black-headed Gull, hopefully they will arrive in force soon and see off these competitors before they get settled. On Ibsley Water the 5 Wigeon remain and are possibly here to stay now, as I locked up there was a fine drake Goosander, no doubt one of the birds that have taken up residence in the Avon Valley in recent years.
Being Thursday, it was volunteer day and twelve people turned out to fill potholes, tidy up the yard and do a variety of other tasks. As usual loads of work got done and the rain held off as it almost always seems to.

No comments:

Post a Comment