Posted by: Ross Gardner | August 18, 2013

Moths, moths and more moths

Another lengthy gap between posts (must try harder!), but in part this is to due to a holiday spent in South Somerset, exploring for much of the time the Quantock Hills and very nice they were too.  However, at risk of repetition, I  feel moved initially to extol another virtue of our location.  It turned out to be a fantastic week for moths.  A combination of our walks in the hills, visits to Exmoor and other nearby places and a remarkably productive Buddleja bush at our cottage accommodation (not to mention the lighted windows) offered up nigh on 50 species!  Some may not find this an especially spectacular haul for a week, but this was achieved without a moth trap and instead a keen eye, digital camera and some good books.

Now I am something of a moth geek and with help of the superb ‘Field Guide to Micro-moths of Great Britain and Ireland’ and the privilege of a nice camera to photograph them with, many of these were indeed those little insects that perhaps draw the attentions of a more specialist (or geeky!) interest.  A good half nevertheless, were so-called macro-moths and well within the realms, I would say, of a more general interest.

Antler Moth (Cerapteryx graminis).  Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner)

Antler Moth (Cerapteryx graminis). Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner)

Silver Y abounded everywhere and it seems to have been a exceptional year for these migrant moths.  There was Beautiful Snout and July High-flyer in the Quantock woods. Twin-spot Carpet by the dozen on the moors and a host of species at our cottage near Nether Stowey, including the likes of Drinker, Rosy Footman, Flame Shoulder and the stunning Jersey Tiger (might I direct you to the UK Moths website for images and info).  A particular favourite for me was the Antler Moth that I hadn’t met with before.

The murky world of micro-moths is not to be too hastily overlooked however.  Some are, it has to be said, a challenge.  Others though, are attractive and distinctive insects, just quite often a little on the small side.  Such species as the Beautiful Plume (Amblyptilia acanthadactyla) and Eudonia mercurella are perhaps cases in point.

Eudonia mercurella.  Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner

Eudonia mercurella. Copyright 2013 Ross Gardner

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