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Moths and Things

Summer is moth time of year and growing up on my parents farm certainly reinforced that. Leave an inside light on and a window open and you could be assured of returning to find the room inches deep in dying Porina Moths and literally shovels full of their eggs. Like walking on sugar. Most unattractive, and of course a major scourge of pastures.

Ducks to the Rescue

An Uncle of mine had a novel way of combating them. He always had couple of dozen or so breeding ducks, and of course ducks have quite large clutches. He used to hang kerosene lanterns in suitable places. The moths would swarm to the hot lights, singe their wings, and drop into the beaks of the waiting ducks.  Nothing wrong with a roasted duck !!

Moth, Sails Tours, Stewart Island

These moths are far from the smallest we see,
with many so small as to be impossible to catch

Moths on Stewart Island

I know very little about our native moths, of which I understand there are over 1100 separate species. But we do see them while walking on Ulva. Most are tiny, and guests occasionally comment on the small dust motes we see especially as we walk through a patch of sunlight.  They are often surprised when I tell them they are moths, as most expect moths to be nocturnal. But lots of ours are active in daytime.  And I guess a good source of food for our Fantails.

Fantail, Sails Tours, Stewart Island


And talking of Fantails, It’s been years since I’ve seen so many, both on Ulva and around Sails Ashore and the wider village. Often seeing several, almost flocking in quite a small area. Although the last couple of months have been much better weather, the late Spring and “Summer” up until early February were very wet and cold. And perhaps this has driven them into the lower altitude forests. Or perhaps they know something about the coming Autumn and Winter that we are yet to find out. But whatever the reason they are always a delight to see.