Monday, 15 June 2015

The Netted Carpet Moth and the BBC at St. Catherine's.

The BBC Natural History Unit plan to film and tell the story of the rare netted carpet moth and its reliance on touch-me-not balsam, a 'nationally scarce' annual plant.

The Lake District is a stronghold for the moth and the balsam, albeit at just a few sites.

The BBC have chosen one such site at National Trust St. Catherine's to do some filming.

The moth is on the wing in July and August. Females lay eggs singly on the balsam.
Netted carpet moth
(Eustroma reticulatum)

The yellow flowers are followed by pods that burst with explosive force when ripe...scattering seeds far and wide!
Touch-me-not balsam
( Impatiens noli-tangere)

Conservation work at St. Catherine's, East Windermere, has resulted in many touch-me-not balsam plants growing annually in the wooded area just south of the Footprint building; there has been a corresponding increase in the annual moth populations.

Emma, the BBC producer and Tom, the cameraman, are setting up the camera on a post for time lapse photography of the balsam plants. (Thursday evening, 11th June).

The camera in action.

An image of the balsam taken from The Footprint. (June 12th)

The balsam, The Footprint and the camera post seen from the wooded side. The dappled shade that the balsam thrives on is apparent in this image. The Footprint by contrast is in the full glare of the sun! (June 12th)

The Footprint seen from a point further back in the wooded area.

To give a measure of protection to the touch-me-not-balsam, James, N.T  Area Ranger, is erecting a rope barrier.

The netted carpet moth. (Late July) on the loo wall
at St.Catherine's!

The caterpillar, the flower and seed pod. By October the caterpillars will have pupated, emerging as  moths in  July.
The image above was taken in late August just six metres from the  Footprint steps!

Other posts relating to the netted carpet moth and touch-me-not balsam are on this blog site.

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