How do you like your moths in the morning? Visitors to the Leighton Moss annual Moth Breakfast event enjoyed theirs with a traditional cooked breakfast!
24 people attended the event that was held on the morning of 15 July this year. During the previous night, several light traps were set up on the reserve and other local enthusiasts contributed by trapping moths in other nearby locations. All the moths collected were placed in pots and labelled for inspection the following morning.
A grand total of 193 species that had been caught or brought in were on display, including some of the spectacular species shown in the photographs here, right down to many small but beautiful micro moths.
A clouded buff was brought in. One of this species had also been caught at Leighton Moss as recently as 5 July, 2012. Our records show that 1968 was the last time that a clouded buff had been found here. This is a day-flying moth. The males fly in sunshine whereas the female is more likely to stay on vegetation, flying less frequently. They are both active at night too! This species favours moorland and heathland habitats but can also be found on chalk and limestone grassland and open woodland too. Moths can turn up anywhere if they get blown in on the wind, however the limestone pavement and woodland not far from Leighton Moss could be the nearby habitats for this clouded buff.
After the excellent cooked breakfast, Graham Jones and Steve Palmer, the Lancashire county recorders explained the methods of studying moths and opened two of the traps to allow everyone to see the contents. I am sure we had some new converts to the colourful world of moths.
The event was a great success and the moths were subsequently released unharmed where they were found.
The pale patch on the wing of the Gold Spangle really is a metallic shining gold colour!
All photos used with permission from Brian Hancock.Thanks Brian!
How many of us check down in front of a hide when you enter to see whats lurking below? Well we all should, down in the reeds right under the window of Tim Jackson was a beautiful red deer calf!
This little spotty beauty entertained visitors throughout the day, but had evaded many too, nestled down in the reeds undetected until a visiting couple "spotted" it moving in the reeds.
The red deer hinds will often leave their calves hidden in the reeds for their protection and return for them when it is quiet. She showed up occasionally and had a glance over to where her youngster lay. The cute calf was unfazed by the attention it was getting and most of our reserve staff came down for unrivalled views too! As the day wore on two stags also appeared and walked out from the trees to the right of the hide before crossing into the middle giving superb views!
Aside from our cute spotty guest, there was time for plenty of good to excellent birds!!
Star of the feathered sightings was a honey buzzard floating from left to right along the woodland edge, this scarce migrant was confirmed my two visiting birders who had good scope views from griesdale hide before it drifted into view of Tim Jackson hide and then lost to view.
Aside from that unexpected arrival the early afternoon had also produced a green woodpecker juvenile to the right of Tim Jackson hide at the tip of the tree, and an osprey flew from the left of the hide over to the west.
The views of the osprey revealed it to be carrying an eel and was well timed to be viewed by a visiting education group (as I ran from the hide pointing to the sky as it passed over). So not a bad day despite the awful weather up until mid afternoon when the sun emerged in it's full glory!
We arrived this morning to discover that our reed warbler nest is empty. The four chicks that were due to fledge at some point over the weekend have disappeared from the nest overnight and it is likely that they have been predated. Unfortunately, our camera doesn't record over night, so we don't have any footage to show what took the chicks. Reed warblers can sometimes raise a second brood, but it is unlikely at this late stage. For now we will be showing footage from our marsh harrier perch, but will keep you up to date on where we next place the camera.
Elsewhere on the reserve, the saltmarsh is proving to be a good spot for variety, A green sandpiper, several greenshanks, a spotted redshank, and a spoonbill have all been seen down at the Eric Morecambe and Allen pools over the past couple of days.
Down at our red deer Date with Nature in Tim Jackson hide, 3 stags, 4 hinds and 4 calves have been delighting visitors. Why not come along to see them for yourself. Deer watch every Monday and Friday evening in August 7-9 pm.
A beautiful kingfisher has been seen at Public hide. Keep an eye out for that flash of blue and orange! To tell the difference between the males and females, you need to be looking for the lipstick on the females! A male kingfisher has an all black beak, whereas the bottom half of the female's beak is orange, just like she's wearing lipstick!
Female kingfisher copyright Mike Malpass