footmanI became a bit excited at the weekend. I had a rare visitor to my moth light, a red-necked footman (see image). These things happen occasionally.  Earlier this year we had 8 cranes and a ring ouzel on the farm, last year  a huge family of water voles, the year before a great grey shrike and the year before that a Montagu’s harrier. All of these are fascinating to see but they are bonuses.
I was just as excited when I opened my back door this evening to see an adult little owl feeding her young on my garden fence or when the emperor moth visited my light trap in April or when I watched the banded demoiselle damselflies dance down the river at the weekend. None of these are rare but all are stunning.
When I post pictures of moths, I know lots of you like them because of the comments you leave. Moths are fascinating as many of them are extraordinarily beautiful but we don’t see them as they fly at night. It is, therefore, my absolute pleasure to share them with you. Believe me, if we have visitors at the weekend, they are obliged to take a tour of the moth trap. I want to show them why a yellow underwing is so called or show them the amazing camouflage of the Chinese character (it disguises itself as bird poo!).
And do you know which group of people are the most fascinated? The children. I taught very young children for a while at a nursery and they couldn’t get enough of the bugs. Kids love bugs! So if you have kids, buy them a bird book or a butterfly book. Nature will keep them fascinated for hours. My dream is for all children to be able to recognise the everyday wildlife in our gardens so they fall in love with it and grow up wanting to love and protect it.
You may say I’m a dreamer but I’m not the only one. So let’s get everybody excited by nature. Forget the honey buzzard flying over, watch the robin feeding his family or the swallow chasing off predators.  the ever day stuff is just as fascinating as the rare stuff…….but let me be a little excited by my red-necked footman!

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