8 Jun 2014

Moths Galore

Colin Miles

June 3rd 2014 – dry and dull.

Whilst John and Marigold were collecting the Moth trap from Trawscoed Meadow I took the opportunity of counting the Purple Orchids in the first part of the meadow. The first count had totalled, 23, then 29 the next day, 49 a few days later, and today over a 100. I didn’t check what they were, but almost certainly a mixture of Common Spotted and Marsh. However, one big surprise was a lone Greater Butterfly Orchid in full bloom. No sign of any others in the vicinity, but Howard later reported that elsewhere in the meadow they were too numerous to count.

As the weather was rather dull the chances of seeing much in the way of Bees, Butterflies and other pollinating insects was not good, so we all decided to help Marigold with the Moth trap. And for the next couple of hours we poured over the books as the Moths and other insects were carefully lifted out of the egg boxes and transferred to little pots. For those of us unfamiliar with the beauty and variety of moths it was a revelation.

Nat. Bot. Moth Trap – 2 June: 9 White Ermine, 2 Buff Tip, Cinnabar, Barred Umber, Poplar Hawk Moth, Brown Silver-line, 5 Middle-barred Minor, Clouded-bordered Brindle, 3 Common Marbled Carpet, Common Wave, Blood-vein, Fox Moth, Scorched Wing, Small Fan-foot, Map-winged Swift, Powdered Quaker, Rufous Minor, May Highflyer, Agapeta Hamana, ?Aethes cnicana or rubicana, ?Orthotelia sparganella.

Having finally looked at all the Moths, even though some were waiting later identification and with the weather improving somewhat, we decided on a quick walk through the Double-Walled Garden to see what was there in the way of pollinating insects. We weren’t disappointed as can be seen from Anne’s notes below. In particular the number of Honey Bees on the Poached Egg plants were truly amazing. And on the beautiful but unidentified blue flowers in the children’s corner Marie spotted Tree Bumblebees. These have been in the news as recent arrivals whose effects on Native Bees are as yet unknown. Several of us now have them in their gardens, but unless they predate or otherwise interfere with our Native Bees it is difficult to see how they can be a problem.

Anne’s notes: Warm and still in Double Walled Garden: These were the plants that the Bees, Bumblebees and other pollinating insects were most interested in. White Borage, Blue Borage, Comfrey, Rape, Phacelia Mulch?, Poached Egg Plant, Perennial Wallflower,Thalictrum delavayi, Aquilegia, Chusan Palm, Dark Blue Flowers under Banana Trees.

Also seen: 3- 6 Spot Ladybirds, Early Bumblebee,Tree Bumblebees, Buff Tailed Bumblebee, White Tailed Bumblebee,
Carder BumbleBee, Many Honey Bees, Red Tailed Bumblebee, Queen Buff Tailed Bunblebee – newly hatched – most other Bumblebees were workers and males.

Thanks to Anne for these notes and to Peter and John for their photos. If any volunteer or member is interested in joining us please send an email to Colin Miles – you DON’T have to be an expert in anything, just interested. If you click on the Wildlife Walks heading on the left-hand side under News you will see a list of the last 10 Wildlife Survey blogs. If you find an injured bird, hedgehog or other wild animal and want help and advice then phone the Gower Bird hospital. on 01792 371630.