Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Moths and Millions

Despite having about 12mm of rain (half an inch in "old money") overnight, there were a good few moths in the trap this morning. The best was another Scarce Merveille du Jour, the bulk were a few common species especially Treble Lines, White Ermine and Heart and Dart. The last is a very common species and one that probably occurs in every garden in Hampshire, perhaps even England. It is named as because the markings on the wings are supposed to resemble a heart with a short black dart, you can decide if there is any basis to this.
White Ermine moths are pretty obvious and like most "tiger moths" distasteful to birds, if disturbed they will drop to the ground and assume the position in the picture, which does look sort of threatening, or at least like the kind of insect that might potentially sting. The abdomen has something of the wasp about it.
The Lapwing chicks still survive and our first brood of Little Ringed Plovers were running about today, although the clutch nearest the hide are still being incubated. The Osprey turned up again, in fact it made two appearances, the last around 4 o'clock, which seems a favourite time.
When the sun came out there were loads of damselflies and dragonflies about, which was not too unexpected. However in the rain during the morning a large Grass Snake trying to bask outside the Ivy South hide rather optimistic. More typical of the conditions were the first toadlets on the move, only tens today but the hundreds, thousands or even millions are probably only days away. They can be so abundant that it is impossible to walk the paths without treading on some, densities may exceed 10 per square metre, that is 100,000 per hectare!

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