Moths of All Sorts-Outdoor Hour Challenge #23

This week’s challenge was to focus on insects and moths in particular. We were able to see lots of moths close-up this week when we were camping. Once you turn on the lantern and set it on the table, watch out! Moths come a flying!

Here are some of the many moths we observed during the week. We were able to get good photos by turning on two lanterns and using one to attract the moths and one to light the moth for the photo. I did not use the flash on the camera.

I don’t think this one is a moth but some other sort of insect that is attracted to the light.

The next set of photos is from the back porch. I turned on the porch light and a little while later, we had plenty of insects that were sitting on the wall near the light. We were able to get good photos by shining a flashlight on the insect and then turning the flash off on the camera to take each one close-up.

Edit: Roberta says this is an adult cabbage looper. I think it looks right to me. :) Thanks Roberta.

This looks more like a green lacewing than a moth but it was sure attracted to the light.

I have not taken the time to try to identify all these insects. I have a really hard time with that part of insect nature study. I spend hours and hours pouring through the field guides and rarely do I find what I am looking for. Insects are really hard to identify but we will persevere and try to update this entry as we find the names for these critters.

My son is going to help me identify the insects and make his journal entry on one of the moths we identify. He prefers to use a spiral bound sketchbook for his nature journal instead of notebooking pages.

Beautiful Butterflies and Some Nature Journal Ideas

We were on the lookout for butterflies on our recent camping trip to Yosemite. Many were too fast or would not sit still long enough for a photo but here are a few that I can share. All these were butterflies that I saw as we went on various hikes in a variety of terrain and habitat. My daughter decided that she would rather take photos of flowers than insects because flowers stay in one place.

We did see some Monarchs fluttering and flying around the milkweed but there was never a chance to photograph one, maybe next time. :)

We are continuing our study for Outdoor Hour Challenge #22 for Butterflies.

Showy Milkweed in Stoneman’s Meadow, Yosemite Valley.

We know this is some sort of Fritillary but which exact one, we are not so confident. If I had to make a best guess, I think it is a Pacific Fritillary or a Western Meadow Fritillary.

Okay, there are two butterflies in this photo. It was taken in a marshy meadow area near Lukens Lake. There is one distinctly blue and one distinctly brown butterfly but I have no idea what particular ones they are even after examining the field guide for a long time. I’m not very good at identifying butterflies….yet.

Here is another blue butterfly sitting on some bird droppings. My best guess on this one is a Lupine Blue.

Now this one I think is a Woodland Skipper. I know it is a skipper for sure and it looks just like the one in my field guide.

You can see why I was able to take some good photos of these beauties, they were otherwise occupied with more important activities at that particular moment. I still haven’t been able to identify this particular butterfly. Any ideas???

Here is one of my nature journal pages that I used to record one of my experiences with butterflies. I was testing out the free notebooking pages for an upcoming Outdoor Hour Challenge E-book that we are putting together to share with everyone. This page shows my attempt to record a bit about our butterfly study this past week.

Someone was asking recently about how I keep a running list in my nature journal. This is so easy to do and it doesn’t need to be fancy. Tina has created an easy to use version of a running list that will also be in the upcoming E-book.

As you can see, I really just list the butterfly name if I know it and the date and place that I observed it. If I am not sure, I make a note and then use my photographs to identify it later when I have time to use the field guide and the internet.

So those are some of the butterflies that I was able to capture with my camera. We saw many, many Tiger swallowtails and a particular yellow butterfly that we have yet to identify. I look at this project as a life-long endeavor and if I don’t catch the butterfly this time, maybe I will the next time.

Edit to add: Heather asked about my nature journal and how I plan on using the notebooking pages if I am using a spiral bound sketch diary as my nature journal. I made a decision to change to a bigger size nature journal, still spiral bound since I find that easiest to work in. I only have three pages left in my smaller spiral bound nature journal so I will be starting over in a 9″ by 12″ spiral bound artist’s sketchbook that I purchased from Miller Pads and Paper. I will be attaching the pages into the sketchbook with double-backed tape; running lists will be in the back and the other sheets will go in order starting in the front. This will give me the flexibility to use the notebooking pages or to just freehand my entries in as I feel the need. I love to have options. This sketchbooks use heavy enough paper that I feel comfortable using watercolors in them as well as pencils and markers. Hope that explains it!

Outdoor Hour Challenge #23 Moths

This week we will continue our mini-focus on insects with a study of moths. The Handbook of Nature Study has several sections on moths that you can read whether you think you will find those particular kinds in your area or not. I found the information very easy to read and now I can apply the suggestions for observation with just about any kind of moth. We do have Isabella Tiger moths in our area so I will be especially on the lookout for those when we do our observations. We will be going camping soon so it will be a perfect time to watch the moths that come to the lantern.

“Not only are insects numerous when we regard individuals, but the number of species is far greater than that of all other animals taken together. The number of species in a single family is greater in several cases than the number of stars visible in a clear night.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 295

Outdoor Hour Challenge #23 
Focus on Insects-Moths

1. In this challenge we will continue our mini-focus on insects. Turn to the table of contents in the Handbook of Nature Study and skim down the list of moths discussed in the book. Read those sections in the Handbook of Nature Study on moths, pages 310 to 329. I personally don’t know much about moths so I am going to read through all the sections and see what I can learn. Here is some general information.

Wings not attached
Nocturnal (active at night)
Wings flat when resting
Feathered antennae
Fat abdomen
Form a cocoon

Wings hooked together in flight
Diurnal (active in the day)
Wings upright when resting
Straight, plain antennae
Thin Abdomen
Form a chrysalis

2. This challenge will need to be completed in the evenings. Turn on a light outside or take a flashlight outside. Moths are attracted to light so you should have some success if you are patient. Make sure to look on walls and plants near the light for moths.

Try this website for further techniques in attracting moths.
Attracting Moths

If you are unable to complete the challenge this week for moths, please feel free to take your outdoor time at a time that works for you family. Use your time to look for insects and to enjoy the summer air and sunshine.

3. After you have your outdoor time, provide an opportunity for working on a nature journal entry. This might be a good time to discuss the differences between butterflies and moths. If you didn’t see any moths, you can record in your nature journal any other kinds of insects that you found during your outdoor time.

4. If you observe more than one kind of moth this week, make sure to start a list of moths in your nature journal. I like to keep a running list in the back of my nature journal. If you observed some other kinds of insects during the week, record those too.