It wasn’t a good day to be a shepherd. It wasn’t a good day to be anything really.
It started off very nicely.
Then the sky turned black and the rain started. It was a very short day anyway and now it is night and gales are buffeting the farm and the rain is pounding against my windows.
I am all cosy indoors but all of my little animals are living out there and it is just another winter’s night.
I wrote about Bird’s-foot Trefoil today and I will show you that in a bit, first I thought we could look at some moths. I would have liked to put more into my flower post but that was supposed to be about flowers.
Day flying moths, some of them are just as pretty as the butterflies.
This is a Speckled Yellow moth (Pseudopanthera macularia). It’s caterpillars feed on Wood Sage and it is common in open woodland.
This next beauty is a Green Silver-lines (Pseudoips prasinana). Another woodland moth, this one favours Oak and Birch trees.
This next one isn’t a moth at all, yet but it will be. It looks a bit like an old Birch catkin.
This is the caterpillar of a Scalloped Hook-tip Moth ( Falcaria lacertinaria) and it feeds on Birch, naturally.
This next one is called a Silver Y moth (Autographa gamma) , try and guess Y.
This is a summer visitor arriving in the UK from May onwards it comes from Southern Europe. It is not a fussy eater, Bedstraws, Nettles, Clovers, it also likes Peas and Cabbage.
If we have another day like today then I will post more moths tomorrow. Here are my flowers.
Lotus corniculatus, The Bird’s-foot Trefoil.
This is a flower of grassland. It grows in meadows and on heaths in forest rides and if you are very lucky, in your garden.
Bird’s-foot Trefoil is very variable in size. Amongst short grass the small flowers may be just inches off the ground.
In long grass it can grow to about twenty inches. It seems to be able to flower at whatever height the surrounding plants are rising to.
In many parts of the world Bird’s-foot Trefoil is grown as an animal fodder and I read that it can yield up to four tons of hay per acre. That is difficult to comprehend when you see the tiny flowers growing in short cropped grass.
The name Bird’s-foot comes from the seed pods which are claw like and resemble a Bird’s foot. Another popular name for this plant is Granny’s Toenails.
The Trefoil part of the name is a reference to the leaves. Each leaf is actually made up of five leaflets but two of these are at the base of the mid rib and the remaining three form the trefoil at the end of the leaf.
New buds continually form and grow from the centre of existing leaves, which makes it difficult to study the form and shape of the plant.
It also has a very deep tap root (up to three feet deep) that allows it to thrive on poorer soils.
Bird’s-foot Trefoil is a very important wildlife plant and as such a wonderful addition to any garden. It is especially valuable as a larval food plant for many of our most beautiful Moths and Butterflies including the Dingy Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Silver Studded Blue and these Common Blues.
Amongst the Moths it is a larval food plant for the Six-spot Burnet and for this next one the Burnet Companion.
The Bird’s-foot Trefoil is a member of the Pea family, known as the Fabaceae and sometimes by the older name of the Leguminosae.
It is native to the UK, Eurasia and North Africa.
Species: Lotus corniculatus