Friday, 15 August 2014

Butterflies and migrant Moths

Echinacea with visitors (c.OOS)

The month of August is our top time for butterflies and moths: the hot perennial border is overspilling with nectar rich plants: Echinacea, Verbena, Russian Sage and Lavender are all at their best right now.

Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells are the commonest, but Meadow Brown took refuge in the Verbena too.  

Meadow Brown (c.OOS)

Hoverflies are super abundant this year and I keep a keen eye out for migrants, though no sign of a Painted Lady or even a Humming Bird Hawk-Moth, yet.  They are more likely to be found along the coast where Red Valarian grows in profusion on The Murrough and provides a rich nectar source for tired migrants.

Peacock (c.OOS)

The Hawk-Moths look so like a small humming bird: the whirring movements, the humming sound of the wings, the long proboscis reaching into the calyx of flower heads.. a real treat to observe.  These migrants originate from southern Europe and don't really have the ability to over winter on our shores, though they have been recorded as far north as Iceland and Finland, in late summer.

The photograph below is from Cape Clear Island, the Hummer is feeding in a common hedgerow / garden plant of the island, Escallonia. The apricot toned inner wing panel shows well in this excellent pic by Dick Coombes.

HBHM (c. R.Coombes)

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