13 March 2017 - The Buds of March

Crab Apple buds

There was a frost last night.  Today the temperature is forecast to rise to 14 degrees.  Yesterday our writer-in-residence, Craig Dworkin, saw an adder basking in the sunshine near Levisham and I heard and saw toads croaking in East Cowton, near Northallerton.  Things are stirring.  The garden - the source of life for the moths that are recorded on this blog - is beginning to make its presence felt. 

Moths that overwinter as pupae are beginning to emerge.  Species that overwinter as eggs are beginning to hatch.  A source of food is essential and fortunately there are a number of bushes and plants that are beginning to push out the tips of their green leaves.  

March Moth (Alsophila aescularia)

The March Moth makes an early appearance in the year and is on the wing from February to April.  It emerges from a fragile cocoon that has lain underground throughout the winter and the adult can be recognised by the way it arranges its wings into a tube shape around its abdomen - usually. The example in the photograph has settled on the woodwork and hasn't behaved as it ought. 

The food sources necessary for the survival of this moth include the leaves of the crab apple (Malus sylvestris), blackthorn (Prunus spinosa), hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna),  beech (Fagus sylvatica) and field maple (Acer campestre) - all of which can be found in the quarry garden.  

Field Maple buds