The Migrant, the Killer and the Alien

Although I left too early to check the trap this morning, I did spot an interesting migrant moth in the box as I covered it over. So when I got home I knew I had something of interest, although it turned out to be the only thing of note. It was the migrant Pyralid moth Palpita vitralis a very beautiful, pearly white species with glass-like wings.

Palpita vitralis

Palpita vitralis

I was in the office for most of the day, but I did get out for a short while later in the afternoon as I had agreed to check on the cattle at Hookheath as Rob was busy at Milton Locks. The cattle are looking well and doing a good job, although they were at the very furthest end of the reserve so it took me a while to find them. As there seem to be almost everywhere I go, there were lots of fungi about including one big group of what I think were honey fungus, growing on a dead fallen trunk. Honey fungus is a parasite that can kill even large trees, but will also attack shrubs and even perennial herbaceous plants.

honey fungus

honey fungus

One big advantage of having cattle grazing is that they eat the Himalayan balsam plants, these invasive garden escapees are especially problematic on wetland sites where they can dominate native plants, but they are very attractive to livestock, so grazing can control it pretty effectively. It is strange how some aliens species get lots of attention, while others seem to go about their business almost unremarked. One such is Michaelmas daisy, which seems to be increasingly common, I found a large clump just outside the reserve as I left.

Michaelmas daisy

Michaelmas daisy clump

 

 

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