Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Christmas Moths

Streatley on the evening of the 25th - a female Mottled Umber climbing up an illuminated fence-post.

Bernwood Forest today - a prolonged and largely futile search for the early stages of butterflies which turned up only a single egg of that honorary nepticulid, the Brown Hairstreak (this was 2 metres into the Bernwood Meadows BBOWT reserve).  Made worthwhile right at the end when I noticed a stand of mature poplars just around the corner back in the forest proper which had the emergence holes of Hornet Moth larvae at the base.  Lacking the means to extract the remains of the cocoons from the holes, I hacked off some chunks of bark which I have brought home, and there are at least 2 (vacated) cocoons inside (will post photos later).

The emergence holes and cocoons can remain in existence for at least 10 years after the emergence of the moth, so I do not know if the population there persists.  The holes are reasonably easy to find at the base of poplars where these are free of obstructing vegetation and I have found them in all three counties.  Still never seen the adult though...

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