I'm back! Only two weeks into a five-week, scot-free winter holiday at the end of what has been a fairly overwhelming year... it's time to relax and, on the advice of Her Majesty, time to reflect.
But first, I have a bit of explaining to do.
Last post. 30 June. Exactly six months ago.
Well, the moth freaked out and laid 139 eggs in the pot.
All of which hatched out.
And that was chaos. When I opened the lid of the pot to put in some lettuce, the tiny, ravenous caterpillars started sprinting up to the rim. I had to take a small paintbrush and gently flick them back to the bottom one by one. Thankfully they all took to the lettuce, and minus a few casualties I released them in Glencairn Park a few days later (by which time they were looking more green, fat and healthy than in the above photo). After I'd let them go, I had a look around the meadow and found this little guy, Micropterix aruncella, one of my favourite micro-moths:
|And how nicely he posed for me, too!|
Catching adult moths resulted in a couple more very nice rearing projects over the course of June. Firstly, on 8 June, I caught the first Small Phoenix for the garden. It refused to pose with its wings open, so I transferred it to a plastic sandwich bag (with care) to facilitate the photograph.
|Let me out of here!!|
And of course it didn't like that, and jettisoned five white eggs, three of which turned a marbled orange colour like this one -
|Small Phoenix egg|
- and hatched into little loopy larvae which eventually grew into large loopy larvae!
By this stage, I also had eight early-instar Beautiful Golden Y caterpillars, from eggs laid by this lovely lady -
|Beautiful Golden Y - you saw her with her friend the Silver Y in the previous post|
Meanwhile, a chapter of my life was closing. Exams were done, school finished, teachers thanked, friends hugged. Every upper sixth class reaching the end of seven years together feels the mixed joy and sadness of leaving. But for this class, at the end of their time together, there was far more sadness than anyone expected - a death in the school community shot a hole in everybody's hearts.
On 4 July, I bid goodbye to my wee "children", releasing the 4 Small Phoenix and 6 Beautiful Golden Y caterpillars in Glencairn Park, which is a much better place for them than my garden (where the wrath of the mower knows no bounds). That day, there were quite a lot of other moths - and butterflies - to see...
Daytime observation 4 Jul 2013
@ Glencairn Park J3075
|Golden Lance-wing||Epermenia chaerophyllella||25||Larva||[Ye N]|
|Beech Pigmy||Stigmella hemargyrella||10||Mine (vacated)|
|Beech Midget||Phyllonorycter maestingella||2||Pupa||[eY N]|
|Small Magpie||Anania hortulata||1||Adult|
|Yellow-spot Twist||Pseudargyrotoza conwagana||15||Adult|
|Ash Bud Moth||Prays fraxinella||1||Adult||[Y]|
|Silver-ground Carpet||Xanthorhoe montanata||1||Adult|
|Little Cosmet||Mompha raschkiella||1||Larva|
|Small Phoenix||Ecliptopera silaceata||4||Larva||Release|
|Beautiful Golden Y||Autographa pulchrina||6||Larva||Release|
|Common Marble||Celypha lacunana||1||Adult||[Y]|
|Common Slender||Gracillaria syringella||50||Mine|
|Common Slender||Gracillaria syringella||10||Larva|
|Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet Zygaena lonicerae||6||Adult||[Y]|
|Straw Grass-veneer||Agriphila straminella||3||Adult||[Y]|
|Epermenia chaerophyllella larvae on hogweed|
|Phyllonorycter maestingella (confirmed by rearing through) pupa in mine on beech|
|Speckled Wood butterfly|
|Ash Bud Moth, Prays fraxinella|
|The kiddies: Small Phoenix and Beautiful Yellow Underwing larvae. I think the red cross mark on the rump of the Small Phoenix is apt - a wee resurrection theme going there!|
|Gracillaria syringella larvae, exposed from leaf spinning on ash|
|Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnet, pair in cop|