Lullaby July

Half way and a few barley corns through July and the land is wailing for water. Tonight three hours of rain are forecast. The water butts will be replenished if I am lucky. Although the longest day is past and summer is in full swing the nights can still catch a chill. Last night the maximum was ten Celsius. Still a good number of moths flew. Not so many as to overwhelm me and enough to give me a good return. Eight new species for the garden and the species clock ticked up to 310.

Two nights ago I had a problem with wasps. If the temperatures are low they are dozy and easily moved on. Nothing to see here, move along please. If the mercury rises much above fifteen C then they are active, more numerous and hard to usher away. In doing so I lost quite a few moths. I believe there may be a nest nearby so last night I moved the actinic trap across the garden and sited it near the pond. The MV trap stayed in situ. This trap gets fewer wasps but seems to lure the hornets instead. Although they look fearsome they give me far less bother. Two last night and one had not survived.

The young rabbits are not showing themselves and the deer has been marked absent for almost a week. The wildlife is perhaps in a lull.

A review with the gardeners brought another insight into the history of the plot. After walking it several times they have concluded that my pond was originally a moat. It makes sense. The huge rocks, undoubtedly imported, were in fact stepping stones. Then someone must have sealed off either end of one section and created the pond. The soil where the old moat was situated is very fertile and easy to dig, quite unlike the other side of the plot. There I have clay on flint. Whether I shall attempt to restore the moat is a moot point. No (bull)rush.

Next Thursday another hazel will be coppiced and that will open up a large area of the canopy. The hedges will be trimmed after checking that no birds remain nesting. Our stroll also produced a find I was very happy with. The flower emerging from the scrub under an oak tree and a fir tree turned out to be Common Toadflax, Linaria vulgaris. It looks like a tiny snapdragon. It has many local names. They include butter & eggs, bunny mouths and rather oddly impudent lawyer. See if you can spot the lawyer here.Common Toadflax

Common Toadflax

Just a few moths to grace the blog today but all new for my garden and very welcome they are too. Two indeed are regarded as scarce and are doubly pleasing. I shall declare my garden a SSSI if this trend continues. The ancient woodland patch behind us, of which our copse is a tiny fragment, seems to hold a rich species diversity, possibly comparable to some of the more well known woodland sites. This is undoubtedly simply a function of recording. I doubt if anybody has surveyed the patch before. It is vital that these relict woodlands are preserved. Keeping a record of vulnerable moth species is just a small contribution to any future fight for habitat survival.

Parascotia fuliginaria

Parascotia fuliginaria

Ptilodon cucullina

Ptilodon cucullina

Tethea or

Tethea or

Idaea rusticata

Idaea rusticata

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14 thoughts on “Lullaby July

  1. I’m in awe of the amount of moths that you are finding, Andrew. I had no idea that there were so many! Fascinating to see what you are finding in your trap. As for the Impudent Lawyer – I’m scratching my head here. I wonder if it could be to do with the ‘wig’ but then that would be a barrister surely?

    I envy you your 3 hours of promised rain. It’s baking hot here and I long for rain. 43c last week and the hottest month is yet to come.

    • Just a dribble so far Lottie. We need the heavy stuff. I wondered if the connection to lawyers was in the name Toad. Otherwise I am also baffled. I can live without 43 thank you. A comfortable 20 here. Smirk.

  2. Your property is yielding are sorts of surprises. A moat of all things. The 310 moths are impressive. Seems like yesterday that you had 100. So you are moving very fast toward the 1000 mark.

  3. Beware of the lawyer. Just finished another Royal Commission here in Australia. 80 Million dollars later, not a single fact of a crime committed by the opposition leader. Just an expensive witch-hunt for political advantage.
    Give me your world of moths anytime, Andrew. Do moths interbreed? Apparently not if there are over at 300 different species. They must have good eyesight and be amazingly monogenic.

  4. I immediately thought the flower was a snapdragon, Andrew, and it brought back so many memories for me. My mother filled one entire section of her flower bed with snapdragons because as kids we all loved wearing the blossoms “snapped” on our fingertips.
    You moth pictures are excellent, but I’m still enjoying the snapdragon.

  5. Hooray for the Toadflax. I prefer the butter and eggs moniker and love to photograph them when I find them. Here they are non-native and found mostly along roadsides and waster areas.
    Any sign of alligator bones in that moat. I think you should restore it for your protection from rabid rabbits.
    My favorite of your latest moths is the Idaea rusticata. It has lovely markings. I’ve had a few rustic ideas of my own.

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