Thursday July 26th 2012
Firstly, there is a ‘Moth Hunt’ tonight at Muncaster. This is being hosted by Millie our Conservation Officer, and assisted by our keeper; Vicky. To test the water so to speak, Millie set up a moth trap last night, and had some interesting specimens this morning, including A ‘Drinker Moth’ as well as a ‘Garden Tiger’, a very aptly named moth, as well as being very beautiful. Moths are often thought of as drab compared with butterflies, but on closer inspection, many of them can be very spectacular. It would appear that the weather is ideal for moths at the moment, as there is no wind and it is very humid. I think the highlight will be if they can catch a Netted Carpet Moth. This species is very rare in the British Isles, on account of the fact that they are specialist feeders which rely on Yellow ‘Touch Me Not’ Balsam for their food plant. This rare wildflower only occurs in two regions in the British Isles; Anglesey in Wales, and Cumbria in England. Muncaster is one of only four known sites in Cumbria, and it is very prolific round the ‘Main Display’, we tend it where we can. I went on a moth hunt back in 2001. We came across some Netted Carpet Moths back then, as well as, (interestingly enough), some species which were unknown to science! We had this on very good authority; we were accompanied by two eminent lepidopterists. Not that I would have known, as the two species in question were what I would have described as, (being a member of the uninitiated), ‘boring grey jobbies’.
On the owl front, we now have 2 Tropical Screech Owlets in the ‘Owl Garden’. We have also taken delivery of a Long-eared Owlet. This one was captive bred at a private breeder and at 3 or 4 weeks old has been crèche reared prior to us getting it. It has been mooted that this bird should be a lecture bird. It has accompanied Vicky on her way home last night. We haven’t decided on a name as yet.
See you next week
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