Chimney Sweeper

As Alex had gone to the Glastonbury Festival, Pete accompanied me to Shenley Wood to survey the ride flora. Mostly the rides were rather disappointing, with rank grass, bramble and much Meadowsweet, but few other species. Some areas were noticeably richer, with populations of otehr damp-loving species such as Common Spotted-orchid, Ragged-robin, Greater Bird's-foot-trefoil, Betony and Common Valerian.

One glade had a good population of Pignut, and in this area we spotted quite a few Chimney Sweeper moths, whose larvae feed on this umbellifer. It's a very distinctive species with sooty black wings (which inspired its vernacular name) tipped delicately in white. It's not a particularly rare species in Britain, but tends to form small, scattered colonies, so it's always nice to come across it.

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