Saturday, 21 August 2010

The darkness

The Safari joined three other intrepid adventurers in the darkest depths of the local allotments all armed with pots, nets and torches. Before we chose a suitable location where we could move around safely in the dark we had a quick look at the 'snake pit which had obviously dried out but had re-flooded - looking good! Plenty of patches of Purple Loosestrife had sprung up where the ground had been disturbed and the Flag Iris we planted has established well - - all looks good for next year.
At last the bally big bulb was set up over the trap. As darkness fell the genny was fired up and UV light flooded the area. It wasn't long before the first moth arrived, an Orange Swift, the next two moths were also Orange Swifts, all three of them males and these were the only one we got all night! Large Yellow Underwings numbered a few more than plenty and there were even more Flame Shoulders which came in at crouching height and stoated off our heads, shoulders, backs etc.
There was plenty of variety to keep us interested as the trap filled up including some not seen since last year in the park when Frank was eating them as they approached the trap - silly dog! The Copper Underwings sp lived to tell the tale as Frank wasn't with us tonight.
Both specimens of Peppered Moth were of the 'melanistic; industrial' form carbonaria - sounds like something tasty you might serve with spaghetti! - at Base Camp we only see the 'normal' form, not sure why they should be so different only a few miles apart and we certainly aren't in an area that has ever suffered too much industrial pollution.
Very few micro's were recorded but of those that we did see all were identified except for this one - which for those present was a very good strike rate.

Is it Crambus pascuella? The pale longitudinal line might not be white enough - last night we thought it was goldenish by torchlight - and it might be too narrow, with no white under the 'fingers' at the wingtip either, so something else?
Last moth of the night just as we were deciding to call it a day was a cracking Willow Beauty. But sadly, especially for one adventurer, no hawkmoths.
Jupiter and five of its moons was showing very well in the binoculars.
On Patch 1 mid morning a migrant was heard, a Great Spotted Woodpecker and it was still 'chip'ing away later in the afternoon. another freshly hatched Woodpigeon's egg was found on the grass verge of the main road.
Not a bad 18 hours safari-ing but 'Pool lost 6- 0 this afternoon - nightmare, some of us were hoping for a well earned draw...there is an enormous gap between the teams vying for the Premiership crown and those hoping to avoid relegation. Some say that between the 20 teams there are actually three, if not four, 'mini'leagues the the Premiership.
Where to next? A far flung safari beckopns tomorrow, maybe somewhere on the South-side we've not visited before, or it could be northwards as we have an errand that could be done at the same time - we'll check what the weather is doing in the morning and decide then.
In the meantime let us know if you have been overrun with micromoths or not in your outback.


Monika said...

Interesting stuff....what is a micromoth?

Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Now Monika, there's a question - ideally the answer would be one that is smaller than the macro moths but it doesn't always work that way! Some micros are honorary macros (Waring, Townsend & Lewington)

That probably doesn't help at all.
Some of the micros are <5mm yet far more colourful and well patterned than most of the macros - - why? How good is their eyesight? Can it really be camouflage? Questions, questions, questions.



Check out - dunno if you have something similar stateside