At Mersehead, we have two staff cottages with both the Warden and Assistant Warden living on the reserve. We are going to try and keep you updated on the wonderful wildlife we see at Mersehead during our daily walks.

Mersehead Moments: Moth of the Week

The resting position of the Early Thorn with wings held back close together distinguish this moth from the eight other thorns found in Britain. With two flight seasons, this moth has been on the wing since mid-February and will continue to come to light until May. Expect to see a second generation of this moth throughout July, August and September.

The only other species of thorn moth out during April is the Purple Thorn which also has a distinctive resting posture with wings held outstretched opposed to closed.

Early Thorn. Photo credit: R.Flavelle

It is also a great time to look out for the caterpillars of moths. The distinctive caterpillar below will develop into a Drinker moth; a name derived from the habit of the caterpillar to drink drops of dew from blades of grass.

Caterpillar of the Drinker moth. Photo credit: R.Flavelle

After hatching in August, the caterpillars hibernate before continuing to feed in the spring. By June they are fully grown and will build a cocoon.

Rowena Flavelle, Warden