Saturday, 11 June 2016

#30DaysWild day 12: Hawk-moth night

This year's Moth Night was from the 9th - 11th June, making it more of a moth long weekend. The theme this year was hawk-moths, so we've had the moth trap out all weekend hoping for some good hauls. Hawk-moths are brilliant. They're big, beautiful and really don't mind posing for photos, unlike some moths that make a dash for it the first chance they get.

The moth trap, in amongst the rhubarb
We started the weekend with a bang, finding a fabulous eyed hawk-moth in the garden. We didn't even need the moth trap for that one, as it was just hanging out in the shade in the garden. It's the first time we'd seen one of these, so it was a really great start to the weekend.



It's always such a treat to open the trap in the morning and see what's inside. You just never know what might be in there.

The robins and sparrows get very excited when they see the moth trap out and hang around waiting to see if they can snatch any of the moths. The robins are the boldest, sitting right next to us and even on the box. We do our best to let the moths go in a safe place, but the birds do always get some of them.
 
Looking a bit ragged - must have young somewhere!
The moth trap has been full of moths every night, including a couple of hawk-moths. The privet hawk-moth is one of our biggest moths and is really quite impressive, with bars of baby pink on its hind wings and body.
A privet hawk-moth and a large beetle called a cockchafer
We also caught a poplar hawk-moth. These have such an unusual wing shape and rest with their bottom stuck up in the air.

Poplar hawk-moth
The kids loved to get a good look at the hawk-moths and carefully hold them (on their nose!). Then we let them go again.
Who wouldn't want a hawk-moth moustache for Moth Night!
I filmed the privet hawk-moth as it 'revved' up before flying off around the garden (sorry about the terrible camera work - it was fast!). It looked a bit like a bat swooping around, before it disappeared into the safety of the bushes.
video

It's not only moths that are attracted to the light of the moth trap. We also caught a few cockchafers and some burying beetles. The burying beetles are the undertakers of the insect world, burying dead birds and rodents and using them as a food source for their larvae. They're always covered in little mites and are a bit smelly, but just the sort of thing that fascinates Bug Mad Girl.
Burying beetles, also known as sexton beetles

They're covered in little orange mites on their underside
Cockchafer
We'll enter all our moths on the website http://www.mothnight.info/www/, where you can also find out more about Moth Night.

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