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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

New Post - Old Advice (Orange Underwings)

I`ve mentioned orange underwings before on the blog and also in the Carmarthenshire Moth & Butterfly Group Newsletters, where I suggested that the peak times to see them as they fly above the birches is approximately midday and early afternoon.
They have already started to appear but normally the peak period is late March/early April, so there`s plenty of opportunity left to seek them this spring on areas (eg old shale tips, secondary woodland where there is plenty of growth of birch).
I read a handy tip last night in Tutt`s Practical Hints for the Field Entomologist (c 1905 - hence the `old advice`), where he states that they sometimes descend lower down the trees at/about 4.00pm. Normally the blighters are high in the birches or whizzing past at speed and binoculars are needed, though I know of people who have seen them on the ground (eg at WWT Penclacwydd a few years back) and a friend once caught one in his cap as it rested on a path.
So perhaps a late afternoon inspection of the birches and nearby ground might be productive - and I`ll be able, at last,  to get a photograph!
Another hint is shaking the trees (ie the younger birches, only Tarzan can shake the mature trees) when the moths are inactive in overcast weather when sometimes they may fall to the ground....worth considering.

1 comment:

  1. Some further suggestions sent in an email to Barry Stewart.
    `Not tried shaking the trees myself, but will do so. It will probably work best when it is known that, locally, the orange underwings are actually `out`, ie they have been seen on the wing c midday/early afternoon.
    It might be then worth visiting the trees in late pm, to see if any descend lower or to visit early evening (when still light), or on a gloomy afternoon when they`d be `perched and passive` - and try shaking the trees then.
    Some sites such as old shale spoil tips (eg Pont y Clerc, Ammanford & Mynydd Mawr Woodland Park, Tumble) have colonist birches on slopes and this makes observation easier.
    Do n`t shake wet trees, otherwise you`ll get a soaking.
    It`ll be good to get photos!`