Posts Tagged ‘Thorne Moors A Botanical Survey 2014’

‘Moor’ moffs ‘n bog mosses …. results of Winter ramblings.

January 30, 2015

We try to take a break from ‘conservation politics’ today and reflect on a few recent natural history observations.  There’s snow on the ground, it’s winter, but there are still moths active.  Despite a cold breeze, a ‘mild’ temperature of 7 degC was enough to tempt two intrepid ‘moth-ers’ into the field last weekend.

Acleris hastiana whilst not considered a rare species and one recorded from Thorne Moors in 1983 (Skidmore 2006 lists a confirmed record by Harry Beaumont gen. det.).  More recent Thorne Moors records made in 2013 (Moat et. al.).  Nevertheless this was a first for a local turbary site so provides for a more complete species distribution account across ‘our’ patch.

This species with a local name of ‘Sallow Button’ is considered to be the most variable of the British Tortrix moth species.  Adults generally hibernate in August so this specimen was perhaps tempted out by the light?  Interestringly, previous Thorne Moors records are Spring records whilst more recent are also from Winter months. Larvae feed on salix sp.

150125 Acleris hastiana  PLAcleris hastiana Image: Phil Lee

The other two species present were Chestnut and Pale Brindled Beauty.  Both these species are considered ‘winter’ species with the Chestnut appearing from September through to May, the larvae feeding on birch and oak.  The PBB males fly between January and March in search of wingless females who have climbed up onto tree trunks.

The moral of the story being that effort usually brings rewards a total of eight moths of three species might to some seem scant return for a couple of hours effort but every record builds a ‘moor’ complete picture for a site.  Who knows when that data might be needed to compile a dossier to present a case for protection or a retention of protective status?  In simplest form, it’s a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours and add to the data.

This time of year can also be good for bryophytes.  Mosses are notoriously difficult to identify from photographs but this image of Plagiothecium undulatum from Louise Eaton presented Colin Wall with no difficulty determining it.


This species occurs across Thorne Moors and is described by Wall (2014) as occasional in birch woodland, occuring in 10 1Km squares.  P. undulatum was first located on Hatfield Moors in 2004 where it has been recorded in 6 1Km squares (Wall 2011).

For more information on the bryophytes and their status on Thorne and Hatfield Moors see Wall, C. The mosses and liverworts of Hatfield Moors in Thorne & Hatfield Moors Papers Volume 8 (2011) and Wall, C. Bryophytes in Thorne Moors A Botanical Survey 2014. 

Otherwise a Great Grey Shrike seen regularly on Thorne Moors and intermittent sightings of Hen Harrier and the traditional swan herds on fields peripheral to Hatfield Moors around Alderfen and along the roadside fields heading to Candy Corner out towards Wroot.



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Mark Avery

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a new nature blog

I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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