Thursday, 16 July 2009

Walking with Moths

From Ivinghoe Beacon the next hill along is topped by Whipsnade Zoo. I love the lion carved into the chalk hillside, and I know from my visit to the zoo that there are hundreds of wallabies roaming wild on said hillside, a sight which I always find quite amusing in the middle of the English countryside.

But more wildlife was to be found in this rolling chalk downland. Not perhaps as exciting as wallabies or lions, but just as beautiful in its own small way.

These are 6-Spot Burnet moths, and we walked through a field in which there must have been thousands upon thousands of them. Their wings are iridescent green with bright scarlet spots - 6 presumably... or maybe they were named by someone who had issues with their numeracy skills?

Some flowers were just covered in them. They seemed keen on these purple thistles.

But we also saw lots on these Birdsfoot Trefoils. I think they look especially beautiful against the bright yellow flowers.

On closer inspection the long grasses were covered with the empty chrysalis shells. I think that in some master-stroke of Mother Nature they must have all emerged within a day or so of eachother.

It was an amazing sight.