Bee Moth

bee moth

Despite clearing out so many cocoons last autumn we’re still finding that the odd bee moth is emerging from some hidden corner or another. We’ve had no more than half a dozen appear fluttering around the living room in the last month but recently they’ve been mainly the males so today when I found a female I took a closer look. When I spotted her by the back door, my first thought was that I’d found a snout moth because of the prominent palps projecting at the front, which the male lacks.

bee mothBee moths, Aphomia sociella, feed on old cells and debris in the nests of bumble bees and wasps. Last summer we had literally thousands emerge via cracks in the floor when we had a bumble bees’ nest behind the air brick at the front of the house. They pupated, spinning tough sticky silken cocoons, often bunched together, in every dry, dark corner they could find. We ended up buying a new carpet!

Link: Bee moths make their first appearance in May last year.

Moor Birds

pipitpipit11.15 a.m., Peak District, South Yorkshire: A meadow pipit perches on one of the old walls at the ruined farm known as North America overlooking Langsett Reservoir.

wheatearbuzzardA wheatear, the first we’ve seen this spring, perches on a gate post nearby.

As we’re watching a buzzard cruising along down the valley over the reservoir, a red grouse hurries away further up onto the moor, flying almost directly over us. grouseIt’s this rapid, low flight away from perceived danger that makes them so popular as a game bird. I wouldn’t want to shoot them myself, but I realise how much work goes into ensuring that there’s always fresh heather shoots on the moor to bring up the numbers to make shooting viable.

sandpiper sandpiperAs we cross the dam wall a sandpiper touches down on the boulders at the waters edge.