A couple of firsts for the year
The cockchafer or maybug
And the Small Phoenix – a smart moth!
Whilst out on Monday we came across a few sheep with lambs on the high moor.
This Scottish Blackface has twins.
Because of the harsher conditions upland sheep lamb later then lowland varieties. The majority of upland sheep lamb in the lower in-bye fields before going up onto the Commons.
The coming week of cold weather isn’t ideal ….
Yesterday I found a little group of Longhorn Moths sitting on and dancing around the leaves of an elm tree.
Look at the length of their antennae! These individuals all appear to be males as their antennae are 3x the length of their wings (in the females they are 1.5x)
I think this species is Adela reaumurella – a common species in England
I also had a single Silver Y in my trap overnight. Not a bad effort for a migrant coming from the south on such a cold night.
A couple of interesting moths from my trap over the past couple of days.
This is a Great Prominent – it is a large moth – over an inch in length.
It is a local species, it is on the wing between April and June and its caterpillars feed on English Oak
This is a Nut Tree Tussock – it is a common species and as its name suggests the caterpillars feed on hazel
Went on a brilliant Dartmoor walk yesterday. Started at the end of Fernworthy reservoir and walked up through the Forest to the moor.
The cathedral of Sitka Spruce before the moor begins
Looking across to the abandoned Teignhead Farm. We then walked up to Sittaford Tor. The moor is currently incredibly dry and consists of miles and miles of the dead leaves of Purple Moor Grass.
From Sittaford Tor we headed up to Quintin’s Man – an old cairn. It’s an odd name and the Legendary Dartmoor website suggests what it means – see here. There are several sites on Dartmoor named Man e.g. Beardown Man but all of these possess / consist of a large standing stone. At Quintin’s Man there is no standing stone and no evidence to suggest there was once one there. So a mystery …. Man probable is a corruption of Maen which is an old word for Stone. Quintin may be derived from the French word quintain meaning a post.
Then along the ridge to Watern Tor – one of my favourites. The Tor is spread over a couple of hundred metres.
Here is the next bit – in the distance on the right is Cosdon Hill, with Hound and Little Hound Tor in front of it. The ridge in the centre distance is Belstone Tor.
This gap in part of Watern Tor has its own name – Thirlstone
From the ridge below Watern Tor you can look back to Grey Wethers which consists of two adjacent large stone circles. In this picture you can see some of the individual stone along with a group of walkers visiting them.
We then walked back to Fernworthy Forest through the old fields that made up Teignhead Farm and crossed the River Teign over the old clapper bridge.
Here is a map showing the route – it was around 9 miles long. It is a pretty straightforwards walk – take a map and compass and navigate using the stone walls. Surprisingly there were very few people on the high moor – we saw six people walking to Sittaford Tor and the distant group at Grey Wethers – apart from that – no one!
Found a nice colony of Early Purple Orchids on the outskirts of Exeter yesterday
I’ve seen them here before but last year they had a bad year and I thought that they had gone – but they are back
Simple purple flowers and spotted leaves
Found this bee in the garden this morning.
It is a female Orange-legged Furrow Bee Halictus rubicundus
A common species in southern Britain.