A little over a week ago I had the pleasure of presenting a program of nature photographs at the Maffra and District Landcare Network AGM. Moths were one of the features of the show, and a date was made for a night of mothing at Bellbird Corner Reserve a week later. September nights have been quite cold up til now with little moth activity, but a warm sunny day followed by a night with no moon gave us hope that we might have a reasonable result. The rig was set up facing an area containing the most diverse vegetation in the reserve, working on the theory that it would give us the best chance of a range of moths. An enthusiastic group of adults and youngsters gathered, and with darkness falling the light was fired up and we settled down to wait for arrivals.

setup


bellbird corner

Happily, over the next two hours moths from at least eight families came in to the light and provided plenty of interest to those present. It was especially pleasing to see the interest and enthusiasm shown by the young members of the group. One of the first moths to fly in and land was an old friend, a nice female specimen of the Black Geometrid, Melanodes anthracitaria.

melanodes

A pale moth fluttering around was frustrating until it finally consented to land on the ground sheet behind the rig. It was another geometrid, one of the “triangular” moths, Epidesmia tryxaria, identified by the dark palpi projecting forward from the head.

epidesmia

Geometrids were reasonably varied during the session, early in the season though it was. Hypobapta diffundens paid a visit followed by a very nice Nisista serrata.

hypobapta


nisista

Two species of anthelid arrived, some of these can be tricky to identify due to variability, the one pictured is from the Anthela acuta complex.

anthela

Several of the red bodied Crimson Tiger Moths, Spilosoma curvata settled, this individual was the darkest I’ve photographed so far.

spilosoma

Several small species of moth in the Oecophoridae family settled on the sheet and were photographed, then a check on the back of the rig revealed a beautiful large oecophorid, the Pink Leaf Moth, Wingia lambertella.

wingia


wingia

This is the third member of the genus that I’ve photographed, the others, both beautiful can be seen here and here. As the night cooled down moth arrivals fell off, and it was time to pack up after a successful session with good company. Most of the night’s moths can be seen here.

Click images to enlarge.

Some odds and ends.

While in the Heyfield bush recently I happened to spot this Jackie Lashtail enjoying the early spring sunshine, they can often be found up in shrubs, but this one was happy in the warmth of the leaf litter, it was quite comfortable with me approaching closely for pictures.

jackie lizard


jackie lizard

Not far away beside a fire dam a flash of yellow caught my eye, and further investigation revealed a pair of Yellow Robins keeping an eye on me and their nest up in a sapling. I don’t like disturbing nesting birds so left them to it, perhaps to check again at a later date with the long lens on the camera.

nest

The bush was very dry with not much showing in the way of wildflowers, the most noticeable being a few Waxlips, Glossodia major.

waxlip

Temperatures are still cool and insect activity is remaining subdued, but a short visit to the railtrail turned up a Yellow-banded Dart and the odd native bee collecting pollen from dillwynia flowers.


yellow-banded dart


native bee

And in the garden, self sown everlastings from last season are delighting the eye.

everlasting


Click to enlarge

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