Sunday, 18 February 2018

29th January

Chapel Hill

Spring Usher ushering in the cold!

A chance outing to the woods near Chapel Hill after some awkward preceding weather over the last few days turned out to be a chilly ending on the 29th January as the evening set in. Clearing skies meant a full moon rose to shine through the trees in its upward arc and temperatures starting to fall.
It was mostly calm as a positive but I felt the full moon and the dipping temperatures would go against me enticing anything to the light trap.
With a thick coat and coffee to hand I sat there and watched more in hope that a moth might pay a visit with the backdrop of Tawny Owls hooting nearby.
The Owls are regular here but they always check in overseeing what I'm up to despite actually seeing me here quite often.
They could see as well as me that absolutely nothing was happening at all. Another coffee I thought as the Owls left on there customary flight around the woodland.

Then near 50 minutes into the trap session a flicker to the left signified a moth. It disappeared but returned and dived into the trap. Then another followed and I got my hands on it, carefully coaxing it into a pot. I left it for some time before it settled to reveal a Spring Usher. Nice one, as I had not seen too many of this species.
Nearly an hour passed and I decided to pack up as my hands were beginning to tingle with the cold, it must have been 5c (I later found out), I was sure I'm not seeing any more moths.
Then as I set the light to one side another moth came in followed by two others within a minute. They must have been waiting near by I reckoned.
After a check they were all Spring Usher's that evening, all 5 of them and I could not help think that these moths are extremely hardy, tough in this cold weather, tougher than me. One good thing that is at their advantage this time of year is very little in the way of predators are around especially bats so a wise evolutionary process going on here for survival me thinks.

 Four of the five Spring Usher's that turned up this cold evening