Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Warnham Moths & Birds

Oak Beauty - Warnham LNR
You might well think that as it is winter there would be very little by way of moth activity on the Reserves but this is not the case at all. Over the past couple of weeks you might have seen the odd moth start to appear in your headlights. These are almost certainly Dotted Border which is a dainty moth in the Geometridae family. The moth trap at Warnham has been pretty good with lots to look at considering the time of year.
Small Quaker - Warnham LNR
Common Quaker - Warnham LNR
Hebrew Character - Warnham LNR
As you will notice above many of the moths at this time of year are what everyone thinks of as 'boring brown moths' however this is for very good reason. At the time when the adults of these moths are on the wing there is very little by way of colour in our environment. The leaves are yet to come out and the habitat they frequent is mainly a brown, beige colourless one. So there would be little use being bright pink and green like an Elephant Hawkmoth as you would simply get eaten by a predator.

As the leaves come out and the flowers start to appear so do the more colourful moths which I will show you later in the year but for now, most of the moths we catch will be camouflage for the time of year so they are not boring moths at all but in fact very sensible moths!
Early Grey - Warnham LNR
Another interesting fact about our winter and early spring moths is that they adopt a very different approach to being eaten to that of our summer moths. You will be well versed in how active a summer moth can be around a light as they buzz around your living rooms and just how hard they can be to catch to release back outdoors. This is due to the warm ambient temperature that they have the energy to try and escape capture. In the winter it is quite the reverse due to the lower temperatures they simply play dead rather than try and flee to preserve energy.

Meanwhile Paul Shergold has been busy with the camera again around the Reserve and has managed to get some excellent photos. The Kestrel seems to have found a mate so fingers crossed we might have a new pair on site. The Teal have been seen displaying and finally I managed to see a pair mating in front of Tern Hide yesterday. The Mute Swan pair seem to be having issues with deciding exactly where they would like to nest and they now have two half built nests! Thanks to Paul for the excellent photos.
Kestrel - P. Shergold
Teal - P. Shergold
Mute Swan - P. Shergold

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