Saturday, August 9, 2014

A hike on the Preserve turns into a Moth Hunt!

I was on my way out to walk on the Preserve when a neighbor called me over to identify a shrub or tree or something behind her house, not planted by our landscapers, since we have a lot of rogue trees planted by birds, with thousands of bright red fruit, many of them on the ground.  I thought maybe a species of cherry, maybe chokecherry, who knew, though the trunk was not the lenticulated type that cherry usually is, more rough and sort of hairy.  

We were both puzzled that not a single fruit was eaten by birds or our rapacious hordes of squirrels. All the fruit on my own wild cherry is polished off in short order in early June by said critters.

So I took a sample twig with fruit to the Preserve, and consulted the naturalists there, who first wondered if it was chokecherry (!) then did a massive computer search yielding not much in the way of answers.  The only fruit I could come up with that is so astringent it's almost inedible is a kind of wild plum, but I don't know if this is one.  I left them them sample twig in case anyone else came by and identified it better.

Anyway, they asked me to email them pix of the whole tree and they'd refer it to other people more expert - they were the insect guys, I think, since I found one of them later out with a giant net and container.  I also thought I might have experts reading this here blog, so here are pix for you, too. Click to see better.

The naturalist who was trying to help, along with his colleague,  was in search of dragonflies, of which we have many species, to show for a walk later in the afternoon before releasing them.  

And while we chatted about dragonflies and other insects he mentioned that there were luna moths on the deck at the building.  After a wonderful walk, peaceful, quiet, through the woods, me and various birds, I went back and found myself swept up in a Moth Hunt by a mother and daughter, young teen being evidently an encyclopedic knowledge bank on moths.  

She rapidly showed me and named any number of them, including a few luna moths.  My first sighting of them, very exciting!  as well as various other ones, including a herald moth (which she obligingly spelled for me, heh), tiger, rosy maple, this one came out a pink and cream blur, so I didn't add it in here,  she seemed to know the lot.  

Her mom took pix as they hunted and Christina, the daughter identified.  Very impressive youngster.  Her mom said this wall, facing trees and lake, was a great resting place for moths, always worth a visit.

So here are my attempts at pix of most of the above, some of the moths being tiny and some being high up, but I did my best for you. 

Two luna moths, my first ever sighting.

 Front and back of possibly a herald, if you know better, please tell us.

 Tiger maybe?

Then home, ready for cakes and ale. 


To be exact, black forest cake made for Handsome Son's birthday dinner yesterday, he left me some, and ginger ale.  And a mystery book all loaded on the Kindle ready for me to officially read, and actually doze with it resting on my chest.


  1. What a wonderfully exciting day for you! Aren't Luna moths beautiful! We often found them on the back screen door at the cottage, and they would be gone by morning. When we went outside via the other door, we would come around and look at them with the kitchen light shining through. I put a moth/butterfly site link in the Cafe somewhere, it might be useful for you sometime.

  2. Those moths are beauties! So much inspiration for stitch to be had in those photos methinks. Can't help you with the tree identification though.

  3. Looks like a cherry plum to me - we have lots round our way


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