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Bird news and some new moths

Well it’s been somewhat of a stressful ten days or so since the last update – ending in good news though as we’ve now exchanged contracts on Ian’s house sale and had the offer accepted on a lovely place in South Uist (a bungalow for when we are old and decrepid haha). Packing up the house contents into boxes is well under way and the shelves are looking bare.

Happily we are still finding time to moth, lots in the trap are now familiar to us – and so speeding up the time it takes us in identifying them. Still, we haven’t had a session yet without a new moth so that is good too.

Had these Peppered Moths – there are two different forms (i remember studying them in the genetics section when i did the Open University Science foundation course). The story goes roughly like this: the white form was the most common and their colouring was good camoflague for them when resting on lichen-covered tree trunks. The industrial revolution came along and the smoke and air pollutants killed off the lichens and covered the trees in soot – the less-common black (carbonaria) form then had the advantage and became the most common. Now, with improvements in environmental standards the black form is becoming less and less common. An example of natural selection in easily explained circumstances.

Peppered Moth (Biston betularia f. carbonaria)

Peppered Moth (Biston betularia f. carbonaria)

Peppered Moth (Biston betularia, typical form)

Peppered Moth (Biston betularia, typical form)

While emptying the trap one morning (we take it into the conservatory) a Woodpigeon landed in the garden – it had a ring and we assumed it was one we’d done earlier this year – it had bought it’s youngster with it – didn’t look like it had been out of the nest very long.

Spot the ring...

Spot the ring...

Maybe she'd brought the youngster to get a ring. Next time maybe :)

Maybe she'd brought the youngster to get a ring. Next time maybe :)

This is the usual scene when we are emptying the trap (you can see the packing is going well!)

ID books out, notebook and hand lens to hand and lots of moths in pots

ID books out, notebook and hand lens to hand and lots of moths in pots

I must say that we’ve caught some stunning moths again this week:-

Blotched Emerald (Comibaena bajularia)

Blotched Emerald (Comibaena bajularia)

Barred Yellow (Cidaria fulvata)

Barred Yellow (Cidaria fulvata)

Snout (Hypena proboscidalis)

Snout (Hypena proboscidalis)

We received news of a Blackbird that we had ringed (CT82709) in April 2009 as a second year male (5M). It hadn’t moved very far, just up the road in fact. It had sadly been found dead on the 4th May 2010 and oddly enough the report we received from the BTO said that it had been “found with dead unringed female”. My only thought was that they had perhaps got into someones garage or outhouse and become trapped together when the door was subsequently closed. Sad.

Another moth that comes in two forms is the Riband Wave. We have now caught both forms, as shown below:-

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) the plain form ab. remutata

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) the plain form ab. remutata

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) the typical form with a band across

Riband Wave (Idaea aversata) the typical form with a band across

Ah well, back to the packing…

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