Recent sightings 14th June to 20th June.

As we approach the summer solstice with the days at their longest, it might be a nice idea to talk about one of our night-time visitors. More and more moths have been caught in the moth trap recently and these past few days have seen a magnificent display of different species. The majority of our moths are mostly a mystery to our visitors due to them being more active at night. This week's moth trap caught a massive 312 moths and our resident moth expert identified 54 different species, including Figure of Eighty, Peppered moth, Burnished brass and a Spectacle Moth. Other moths spotted this week include the Elephant Hawk-moth, Eyed Hawk-moth, Poplar Hawk-moth and of course the Scarlet Tiger. The amazing variety of colours and patterns of moths are made up of hundreds of tiny scales like the tiles on a roof. 

  

Image: Scarlet tiger moth, RSPB Newport Wetlands team

Image: Spectacle moth, Kevin Hewitt.

Newport Wetlands is home to an array of beautiful butterflies with the Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Small Tortoiseshell making an appearance this week. Some moths can be very beautiful and often mistaken for butterflies. In the UK a whopping 2,500 species of moth can be found, trumping the 59 species of butterfly. Moths are misunderstood as menaces who munch clothes; however, this is only a minority of the species, with some moths never eating anything when an adult! Moths are a vital source of food for other wildlife, such as bats, but they don’t go down as lightly as you might think, as they have a whole host of tricks up their sleeve. Some are masterful mimics that blend in with objects like tree bark or flash brightly coloured wings to warn off predators. Tiger Moths can produce ultrasonic clicking that confuse bats which are guided by sonar.  We have a lots of different flowers that rely on the myriad of macro and micro moths for pollination. Although most of our moths are residents, some undertake a long and impressive migration from North Africa. A few have been tracked flying vertically upwards to catch the faster high-altitude winds!    

  

Image: Figure of Eighty, Kevin Hewitt

Image: Burnished Brass, Kevin Hewitt

The rest of the wetlands decided to keep with the ‘M’ theme with the Marsh Harrier and House Martins soaring above, Mute Swans, Moorhen and Mallards watching from the water, and Mistle Thrush and Magpies in the trees. On the ground our Southern Marsh Orchids have been dazzling visitors, offering great displays of colour amongst the grass.    

 Recent sightings list: 

Common frog, crab spider, Bearded reedling, Bittern, Blackbird, Blackcap, Blue Tit, Bullfinch, Buzzard, Canada Goose, Carrion Crow, Cetti's Warbler, Chiffchaff, Collared Dove, common whitethroat, Coot, Cormorant, Cuckoo, Curlew, Dunnock, Feral Pigeon, Goldfinch, Great tit, Grey Heron, Herring gull, House martin, House sparrow, Kestrel, Lesser black-backed gull, Lesser whitethroat, Linnet, Little egret, Little Grebe, Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Mallard, Marsh harrier, Mistle Thrush, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Peregrine falcon, Pheasant, Pied wagtail, Raven, Reed Bunting, Reed warbler, Robin, Sedge Warbler, Shelduck, Song thrush, Sparrowhawk, spotted flycatcher, Stonechat, Swallow, Swift, Tufted Duck, Willow warbler, Woodpigeon, Wren, Rudd, Thick-legged flower beetle, Buff/white-tailed bumblebee, Common carder bumblebee, Comma butterfly, Large white butterfly, painted lady butterfly, Peacock butterfly, Red admiral butterfly, Small tortoiseshell butterfly, Speckled wood butterfly, black-tailed skimmer dragonfly, Blue tailed damselfly, Common blue damselfly, emperor dragonfly, Four Spot Chaser, hairy dragonfly, elephant hawk moth, eyed hawk moth, poplar hawk moth, Scarlet tiger moth, Grey squirrel, Stoat, wood mouse, grass vetchling, Bee orchid, Southern marsh orchid.     

Author: Josh Sankey 

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