Mudchute is pleased to announce the arrival of our new apiary located in the fields of Mudchute. It was sponsored by Ashurst for the purpose of a London Beekeepers Association teaching apiary. We currently have four old fashioned WBC hives settled in the apiary. If anyone would like to learn more about beekeeping, please contact LBKA and come down to the apiary for a training course. To contact the LBKA, please call Barbara at 07429706308.
Last week we celebrated National Moth Night. The national event in recognition of moth recording is organized by Atropos and Butterfly Conservation and focused this year on woodland moths. To celebrate, we welcomed you to join us as we checked the trap on Sunday morning and meet some of Mudchute’s many moths!
Here at Mudchute, we provide valuable habitats for these creatures, supporting moths at all of the stages of their lives. Our trees and shrubs offer food for hungry caterpillars as well as places for moths to hibernate over the winter. Our blossoms and wildflowers provide food for adult moths, including migratory species who refuel on their journeys. Caterpillars and moths in turn are food for nesting birds and bats. Finding out more about the moths that live in and pass through our site will allow us to better understand the ecology of Mudchute and bigger issues such as climate change.
To trap the moths, we set up our moth trap overnight. The trap uses a very bright light to attract the moths and its shape helps to funnel the moths into the trap.
Moths as they are photographed and counted before being released
On Sunday morning we found nearly 70 moths in the trap (as well as a few beetles, flies, lacewings and a wasp)! The moths we’ve met at Mudchute come in a huge range of shapes, sizes, colours and patterns. They are all adapted to particular niches. Some hold their wings tight to appear long and narrow to hide among the grasses, others spread their wings wide and flat to lie flush against the bark of trees. The Water Veneer (Acentria ephemerella) has even evolved to live part of its life underwater! Below you can find just a few of the incredible species we’ve encountered.
Garden carpet (Xanthorhoe fluctuata)
White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda)
The White Ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda) playing dead.
The Angle Shades (Phlogophora meticulosa) mimics a leaf.
Common Pug (Eupithecia vulgata)
All moths were released after being counted!
You can find out more about moths at Butterfly Conservation’s Moths Count website. While Britain is home to about 70 butterfly species, it is home to some 2,500 species of moths, including species which pass through the country during their migration, which includes routes from North Africa and Scandinavia! Interested in finding out more about moths at Mudchute? Get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about or next trapping day.
Our hardworking volunteers have been helping to transform logs and branches from felled trees into new habitats for wildlife on the farm, in the form of dead hedges and loggery. These projects will help support our resident wildlife, offering shelter to small mammals and birds, providing food and shelter to a wide range of invertebrates and even acting as a place for some of our pondlife to spend the winter. They also make excellent use of the wood which has resulted from the tree maintenance works across Mudchute. The strong winds this year have meant that we have had to remove several trees and branches to keep our open spaces safe for the public.
As these structures are made from wood, they will weather in the coming months and begin to rot down as they are eaten by minibeasts, fungi and bacteria. These creatures will in turn feed other organisms, recycling the nutrients in more ways than one. As the hedges rot down, we will top them up with additional fresh wood from any tree works, maintaining these habitats.
A big thank you goes out to our wonderful corporate volunteer groups from HSBC and Save the Children for their work in creating our dead hedge and to Standard Chartered for creating our new loggery!
The raw materials are a natural waste product on the farm.
Branches removed from around the farm waiting to be lain.
All of these nooks and crannies offer shelter to wildlife.
The completed dead hedge provides a natural barrier.
Our volunteer group from Standard Chartered with the new loggery.
The loggery will provide food and shelter for wildlife, especially invertebrates.