Sunday, 8 June 2008

A day of insects

Late afternoon in the glorious sun, a neighbour came and set a number of moth traps. "It's National Moth Night" was the surprise announcement. But it was a cloudless and chilly night, and not the best for catching these nocturnal furred insects (perhaps they aren't all furry, but I know nothing about moths, and furry is what comes to mind).
All the same, when we checked the traps this morning some beauties were caught, recorded and set free to live out their remaining hours; most adult moths live for short periods from a few days to a few weeks depending on the species, although moths that hibernate through the winter live for months.
The traps captured a number of buff ermines, a white ermine (below), a gold spot, a peppered moth and a host of others with wonderfully romantic names. But best of all, there was a great palm sized poplar hawk moth (see above). From the size of the body I could finally see why a bird would find the moth a nourishing feast.
And then I checked the sheep, with relief that shearing is planned for tomorrow morning, and that there hadn't been any signs of fly strike to date. Extraordinary what can happen in 12 hours; 2 sheep now had blow flies buzzing around them and one had dark, moist patches that indicated maggots had hatched. All plans were put aside as the sheep needed instant attention. The two ewes had a full early shearing, and one other had her tail area clipped.
One beautiful, harmless insect, another that can cause death. Truly, a day for insects.

7 comments:

mountainear said...

Can't find it in me to love moths - romantically named or otherwise. All that fluttering getting in the way of bed time reading etc.

Glad you are a vigilant shepherd.

Flowerpot said...

I like moths and those are wonderful pictures Mopsa.

Riyo Gems said...
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Winchester whisperer said...

That is a fine coat

paula said...

Snap it is!
Beautiful photos mopsa - I know I'm an uncouth heathen when it comes to moths but I do like a big showy hawk moth and the white ermine has always been a long time fav - I think it's stunning.

How ghastly about fly strike - I don't feel anything but revulsion and loathing for blow flies and their off spring - glad you found it in time.

Mopsa said...

It's not love M'ear - it's just that when you look at anything more closely than usual it gains a bit of fascination.

Thank you Fpot!

Yes, WW - you can see why it gets its name.

Thank you Paula - but I can only claim copyright for the white ermine. A much taller neighbour fella did the hawkmoth; I couldn't reach that high!

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I can't stand moths but I didn't know some had such beautiful names.
Amazing photos.