"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Sunday, 25 March 2012

More Moths and More from the Garden

4 moths in the moth trap this morning - 2 Hebrew Character, 1 Emmelina monodactyla and a possible Clouded Drab.

Emmelina monodactyla - one of the plume moths

Is this a Clouded Drab or yet another Common Quaker?!
I find it hard to take photos of the brown noctuids as the markings never seem to come out on the photograph but this is probably the best picture of a bad bunch!

Edit - Huge thanks to Dean, Ornithom and Stewart for coming to my rescue and confirming this is indeed a Clouded Drab - another new species for the year bringing total species for the year to 10.

Summary of Moths Trapped Saturday, 24th March

6.30 p.m. until dawn
Minimum Temperature 2.4 degrees centigrade
15w Actinic Skinner Trap

Hebrew Character x 2

Emmelina monodactyla x 1

Possible Clouded Drab

As always I am really grateful for any help with id or correction of my mistakes!

Garden Update

A wren has been collecting nest material and taking it into the hanging basket on the patio that was used for roosting by a bird this Winter.

The male wren builds several nests and the female then picks one and finishes her chosen nest. The hanging basket above has been used for nesting before by wrens. Unfortunately several young nestlings fell out - one died but the others were gently placed back inside and, as far as I am aware, fledged successfully. The wren has also been seen taking nesting material into the ivy which would probably be a better choice for a nest site! They nested there last year.

Bluebells are starting to flower already

Part of the mini wildflower meadow had become very overgrown with couch grass over the winter and Brian has decided to dig over about a third and re-seed it.
We have ordered the same wildflower mix that we used when planting the meadow originally which includes Birdsfoot Trefoil, Corn Poppy, Cowslip, Field Scabious, Lady's Bedstraw, Lesser Knapweed, Meadow Buttercup, Meadow Cranesbill, Musk Mallow, Ox-eye Daisy, Ragged Robin, Red and White Campion, Ribwort Plaintain, Self Heal, Salad Burnet, Sorrel, Wild Carrot, Yarrow and Yellow Rattle.

Here's a few photos of the work in progress!

When it was originally planted the meadow was dominated by poppy in the first year, then ox-eye daisy and then red campion over the following years. It will be interesting to see what happens this time although I hope some of the St John's Wort, much beloved by insects, survives intact as there doesn't seem to be any in this mix.

A "Smiley" Face!

Hawthorn leaves are unfurling

and blackthorn flowers (which appear before the leaves) are opening

I saw my very first butterfly of the year in the garden while I was taking these photos - a buttery yellow male Brimstone. Wonderful to see but it didn't linger so no pics!

House Sparrows are collecting nest material and taking it under the eaves and the pair of Stock Dove are still visitng.

Finally, a pair of buzzards were soaring high over the garden - I had the 14-42mm lens on the camera so they appear as a tiny dot in the photo below - if you enlarge you may just be able to make the one bird out!


Dean said...

That one is a Clouded Drab, Caroline.

Looking forward to seeing the results of your wildflower meadow.

Rohrerbot said...

That one moth with the skinny wings is interesting. I'm always surprised at where birds will nest. Some do it in the same spot year after year. We have several as well and I always get nervous when the little birds hatch. There's nothing worse than finding one on the ground. As for the butterfly sighting, pretty exciting. It's amazing how quickly they'll show up once it warms a bit. All my best. Chris

Pete said...

moth time eh :( - LOL

Quite a few flutters about. lovely to see them back eh!

Ornithom said...

Hi Ragged Robin,

Your Clouded Drab is indeed a Clouded Drab, the lovely dark grey tones of this one are very similar to the ones I get. They are in incredibly variable moth though!

Love your blog, I will be checking back!

Steve T

Stewart said...

Now that is a Clouded Drab. Can I give you a photo tip ( from a none photographer I must add). When taking moth pics place them on a mid grey back ground such as a piece of roof slate. This will help you get the colours right. Your pale backgrounds are fooling the camera into darkening the image...

Cheers Stewart.

Ragged Robin said...

Dean - Thanks so much as always for the help with id - glad I was right this time :D! And its another new one for the year!

I will post some photos as the "new" bit of the wildflower meadow develops. Just glad I managed to persuade Brian just to reseed part and leave the rest as it was!

Chris - Glad you like the Plume Moth - one of my favourites! Its going to be warm next week and sunny so hopefully more butterfly sightings! I'll update re: the wren nest.

Pete - I thought you would be enjoying the moth posts :D!!!! I will convert you yet!

Lovely to see the "flutters" appearing. Finally feel that Spring has arrived.

Ornithom - Welcome! and many thanks for your lovely comment and for confirming the id of my Clouded Drab. Do hope you enjoy further visits!

Stewart - Many thanks too for confirming the moth id as Clouded Drab. And even more thanks for photo tip! I am just as grateful for these! I will try your tip next time. I'll also experiment more with the macro lens once I've got the focusing sorted!

ShySongbird said...

I'm glad to see you have had some help fron the moth experts :-)

How lovely to have Wrens nesting in your hanging basket! I'm pretty sure they regularly nest in my garden although I have never been sure where but I suspect in the ivy.

I saw Bluebells in bud while on a walk last week, it did seem very early.

Your mini wildflower meadow is fascinating and something I have considered here. How large an area would you say it covers? It is always difficult to tell from photos.

Still no Brimstone here, last year I saw one in late February!

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - I've lost count of the number of times fellow bloggers, especially Dean and Stewart, have come to my rescue with moths :D!

Ivy seems very popular with wren - its just a matter of luck really whether you see them going in and out or not. Although (apart from the hanging basket!) its hard to see exactly where the nest is as they seem to go into the ivy someway from the nest and then work their way along.

The mini wildflower meadow is very approximately 21 feet by 15 feet or about 35 square yards (or 32 square metres). Sorry I am giving my age away here I still work in yards and feet in the main!!! Hope the maths works out too :D

TBH I don't really think size matters that much as you could make a lovely area from just a few square metres which could hold a good selection of wildflowers and attract pollinators.

That area of the garden was once a fruit and vegetable patch but we had to give it up when the children arrived it was so time consuming! We planted the trees first at the very top and then I think Brian cleared the ground where the meadow is and left it fallow for a while (he certainly did something to try and remove nutrients!). (For a smaller area I don't think all this would be necessary!) We originally had a "hay meadow" with about 75% wild grasses and 25% wild flowers but the flowers over about 10 years gradually disapeared and the dreaded crouch grass also started to dominate. So we then switched about 8 years ago to a wildflower only mix having dug out all the grasses!.

Sorry for such a long reply. I get carried away at times :D.

Just checked last year's notes - strangely enough my first Brimstone was 24th March - so very close to this year's date!