Visit to Ryewater Nursery

Group of people looking at moths.
Group examining the moth catch. Photo: Wren Franklin.

Wren Franklin tells us about the moth and butterfly event at Ryewater Nursery on 12/13 July.

Those who arrived on the Friday evening to help with setting up the seven moth traps were rewarded with an evening of golden sunshine and Purple Hairstreaks battling above many of the larger Oak trees. The traps were distributed in three main habitat types – flower rich grassland, scrub / pasture mosaic and lake edge. The long run of muggy nights came to an end with the overnight temperature dropping to a cool 8.6 degrees centigrade. Maybe this dip in night time temperatures was a blessing in disguise as first light revealed the traps busy but not bursting at the seams.

Nearly 40 people visited through the day on Saturday to help empty the traps, inspect the haul and explore the estates’ many habitats. The moth list reached 132 species and included Brown scallop Philereme vetulata – a new record for Ryewater Nursery. Other highlights included Small scallop, Double kidney, Agrolamprotes micella and Poplar, Elephant and Small elephant hawk moths – the latter firm favorites with the little lepidopterists in attendance.

Pale brown moth with darker brown lines and marks

Double kidney moth. Photo: Wren Franklin

The weather on Saturday was largely cloudy and kept much insect life perched on vegetation – the plus side of this was good opportunities to see Small and Essex skipper up close and compare the diagnostic antennae in the field. The day was not limited to the butterflies of Dorset though as we visited the tropical butterfly green house to enjoy butterflies from as far afield as Malaysia, Africa and South America.

Many thanks to all who contributed time and energy to setting the moth traps, helping with identification, writing lists and providing excellent company among the wild flowers.

Please note: Ryewater Nursery is not a plant nursery and is not open to the public. We thank Clive Farrell for letting us hold this event there.

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