"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, 7 April 2013

First Moth of the Year!

Its Garden Moth Scheme Week 6 this weekend. I've been running the trap each week apart from when we were in Norfolk. I haven't bothered doing many moth posts because its been that cold there just haven't been any moths.

Last night the temperature ranged from 6.2 degrees centigrade when I turned the trap on down to minus 3 degrees centigrade around dawn. I didn't think I had caught any moths yet again until I turned over the last egg box and there was this beautiful moth - a male Oak Beauty.

Oak Beauty - "Biston strataria" (1930)

Really rather pleased with this moth as its a first for the garden and well worth the wait! Here it is trying to warm up by quivering its wings.

The flight time for this lovely moth is between late February and April. It is common (especially in the South of England) in Oak Woodland, gardens and areas with scattered trees. Larvae feed on a selection of broad-leaved trees such as Oak, Hazel, Aspen, Alder and Elm.

If you haven't got a moth trap it can sometimes be found in daytime at the base of trees so well worth looking out for.

Garden Wildlife

We still haven't got any frogspawn. This will be the latest year ever. I've recorded spawning dates over the last 20 years and the previous latest date was 31st March. There are frogs moving around in the pond and with slightly milder temperatures next week perhaps we will eventually get some spawn.

I saw my first garden Bumblebee yesterday (one of the white-taileds not sure which one as it had disappeared by the time I got outside) but still no butterflies in the garden.

Blue Tits are going in and out of one of the nest boxes, the Goldcrest is still regularly feeding on fat balls and fat-filled coconut and this morning had a Siskin eating sunflower seeds - another first for the year. The garden bird list for 2013 now stands at 24 - I don't count fly-overs just species that are actually in the garden.

Here's a record shot of the Siskin (sorry poor photo!)

I did go a drive round some local lanes on 28th March actually looking for Hares - no hares but I did see a small flock of Golden Plover (another new species for the year).

(No problems with Blogger today thank goodness but problems always seem to start when I upload a lot of photos rather than just a few!).


Anonymous said...

Nice one Caroline. Beautiful moths they are. Saw my 2nd moth of the year today (Common Plume moth).

Pete said...

i've found it best to upload the photos but not post them and then go back and select them in the order i want them.

latest I've ever heard a chiffchaff and a volunteer at Titch said it was the latest he'd yet seen a Sand Martin there.

Some nice pics!

Jerry said...

That's a cracking moth to eventually kick things off. I'm afraid I still drew a blank this weekend over moths but we did get a Peacock butterfly flapping around inside our greenhouse today. Things are finally beginning to happen!

Ragged Robin said...

Deano - It was rather lovely (released now deep in some ivy :) A very nice start to the year!

Well done on the Common Plume :) Your bio-blitz list is going to rocket once it finally gets warmer! :)

Pete - Thanks - did you like the moth? :)

I had problems when I uploaded them all and then selected because as soon as I clicked on one to highlight it it got posted and when I went back into images all the rest had disappeared :( Not sure what the problem is me? Chrome? or the computer? or blogger?!

Good to see Blogger have reinstated the slide show feature though. I will go back to your Rome posts tomorrow!

Everything is so late this year - haven't seen or heard a chiffchaff yet and we usually get at least one passing through the garden. Interesting about the sand martins.

Em Parkinson said...

All that spawn here has perished, either in the ice or with the puddles drying out. Beautiful moth....hoorah!

Wendy said...

What a beautiful moth, and lovely photos of it. Wonderful that you saw other "firsts" for the year in your garden, too, like the siskin and bumblebee. Now the weather is warmer (finally) I hope we'll see more insects around.

Stewart said...

And what a cracker to start the year Caroline, lets hope its a start of things to come...

Ragged Robin said...

Jerry - Thank you. Hopefully you'll be getting some moths soon - I saw another one last night fluttering at garage window so they are finally starting to appear :)

Well done on the Peacock :)

Em Parkinson - Than you. What a dreadful shame about your frogspawn especially after your rescue attempts. Perhaps they will spawn again? Do hope so!

Wendy - Thank you. Weather forecast definitely looks milder this week so here's hoping we all start getting plenty of insects :)

Stewart - Thank you. It was a beauty!! Fingers crossed the good start will continue and we'll all be getting moths soon :)

ShySongbird said...

Hi Caroline :-) Your lovely moth certainly lives up to its name and was well worth the wait, what a beauty it is!

Lovely to see the Siskin too, well done! I have probably already mentioned that the only time I had a couple in the garden was about four years ago now. Good to read your Blue Tits are perhaps feeling more springlike.

Everything is so late here this year. I was thrilled to find my first wild Primroses of the year a couple of miles up the road on Saturday but yesterday we went just literally a couple of miles further and were amazed to find huge snowdrifts either side of the road and the wood where I was hoping to find Violets was around a foot deep in snow!!

Really fascinating about David interviewing the man writing the book about Edith's father! I hope he told him that his mum is a huge fan of Edith and her work :-) We watched the June episode last night. It is going far too quickly but I know I shall watch the dvds over and over again.

Ragged Robin said...

ShySongbird - Hi Jan :) I think the Siskins are usually just passing through so its a matter of luck whether you happen to glance out of the window at the right time :) I was cleaning the kitchen and spending far more time watching feeders than cleaning :)

So glad you managed to find your first Primroses. I've found that once you are driving along the lanes there is still a lot of snow around. Hope you get to see some Violets soon.

So glad you are enjoying your Edith dvds. I love the way her books (and the tv series) take you back to a gentler era when there were so many more wildflowers and butterflies about. Sometimes David gets sent books to review but unfortunately not the case with the Edith one.

Bill said...

Nice Oak Beauty. I had one the other night- my first moth in a month.

Here's hoping numbers pick up a bit, although I'm not holding out much hope!

Happy mothing :-)


Ragged Robin said...

Bill - Many thanks for your comment :) Yes a lovely moth :)

I haven't put the trap out again but have seen a few moths outside at windows so if mild spell continues perhaps this weekend's trapping will bring more in.

Happy mothing to you too :)