Moth Spotting

#30DaysWild no. 9. This moth, which settled on the doorstep of Balebarn Eco Lodge, blends in almost perfectly with it’s surroundings, and looking it up is our ‘do something wild’ action for the day.

Spotted when we went by to check the lodge hot tub, the moth was resting during the daylight hours and presumably relying on its camouflage to escape predation by all the birds that are busy feeding hungry nestlings right now.

Despite that fact that there are about 900 ‘macro’ moths in the UK, and about 570 have been recorded in the North Devon area, it’s not that difficult to track them down with a decent guide book. At Wheatland Farm we keep a copy of the Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland by Paul Waring and Martin Townsend to hand. With a photo of a moth it’s easy to find the right general area according to the moth’s shape. Then it’s like a child’s ‘spot the difference’ puzzle.

This one is clearly a ‘carpet’ moth, and after some puzzling over the pictures (all drawn life size in the field guide) we think it’s probably a flame carpet. That’s a common moth that is ‘well distributed’ in the south west. It comes to light, with one or two generations a year, and the the larvae probably feed on cabbage family plants, wild or cultivated.

We will submit our finding to irecord, the online biodiversity recording tool, and maybe someone will get back to us and confirm whether or not our ID was correct. But either way, with a photo, and by entering it into the database, we’re building up a picture of the biodiversity here at Wheatland Farm and contributing to the wider records for Devon. Other recent moth finds around the eco lodges include a Poplar Hawkmoth (spectacular!), a pretty Green Carpet moth, and what is probably a White Ermine moth, a smart creature that flew into the bathroom of one of the lodges.

Previously on #30DaysWild

This time last year: Despite COVID 19, outside adventures were still on in Devon, and we posted about exploring the Exe Estuary by boat.

This time in 2019: We had the botanists from the Devonshire Association surveying Wheatland Farm and Popehouse Moor. It really doesn’t seem two years ago – probably because 2020 feels like such a ‘putting you on hold’ year.

This time in 2018: We were up on Dartmoor for another Devon Day Out from Wheatland Farm

This time in 2017: Painted Lady Butterflies had turned up at Wheatland Farm, the first of the summer.

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