Sometimes, the prospect of spending Monday morning in the office isn’t the most appealing to a Countyside Warden. I’d much rather be outside than stuck in front of a computer all day. However, every time I arrive at the office at the Old Schoolhouse, I do so with a certain amount of excited anticipation. As I enter the door, I can’t help myself from stopping for a moment and examining the wall and doorposts. Above the door, there is an emergency exit light which seems to attract moths at night. Often there are still a few specimens clinging to the wall in the mornings.
The most common one that I’ve found recently is the appropriately named March Moth.
At first glance, the March Moth may appear dull and rather plain but on closer inspection, it has a very intricate pattern. There are about 2500 different species of moths in the UK and Ireland. Due to their individual patterns and colours, most of the larger ones (the macro moths), are surprisingly easy to tell apart from each other.
Another species that can be seen around this time of year is the Herald.
This moth hibernates as an adult during the winter and emerges around now as the weather starts to warm up. A good sign that Spring is on the way.
And what about this incredible specimen that I found?
The Early Thorn is another common species at this time of the year.
Some species of moths will only fly during a certain season and many are very particular about what species of plants they feed on as caterpillars. If over time, the populations of moths change, it is a warning that something has altered within their natural habitat. This makes them great environmental indicators and the perfect subjects for long-term study. For this reason, the Butterfly Conservation charity is encouraging people to report any moths that they are able to identify. Have a look at their website to find out more: www.butterfly-conservation.org
Over the next year, I plan to add a few more photos of the moths that I find. And these will be the common ones that can be easily found in anybody’s garden – including your own. If you think that moths are just dull, brown and boring, you will be amazed just how wrong you were.