Friday, 16 December 2011

Moths Review and Winter first.

I have missed the last couple of mornings as it just seems too dark when I have to leave for work, I did just get a short walk in on Wednesday 14th which produced 34 species the highlight being a LITTLE EGRET with a supporting cast of REDPOLLS, SISKIN and a good mix of other regular species. I spoke to Dad after his walk on Thursday, he had seen 2 BUZZARDS and found our first wintering BLACKCAP!! a bird I've not recorded in the winter months before.

MOTH REVIEW 2011 (taken from information compiled by Steve Broyd)

Steve Broyd has been extremely busy analysing the data we have collected for the moths this year, which gives a very detailed look at where we are in our survey work so far, concentrating mainly on macro moths.
The first figure that jumped out of Steve's findings was that we had recorded 27,339 moths over 160 nights of trapping, I was amazed we had processed so many moths, it made me wonder just how many there are, if this was just from one site and not every moth ends up in our 2 traps!!
Our year started on February 9th, which was our earliest start in the 3 years we've surveyed, because of this we added two new species of early flying moths the aptly named EARLY MOTH and SPRING USHER. Our first new migrant was BLOSSOM UNDERWING which occurred in reasonable numbers around the coasts of southern Britain, we recorded 3 in total, not bad for an inland site. DOTTED CHESTNUT was another star of the early part of the year with 6 being recorded between 15th March and 19th April. Other highlights in this period included 129 GREAT PROMINENTS and 888 SMALL QUAKERS!
3 Alder Moths were found in May

The next 'big event' was an influx of the nationally scarce RANNOCH LOOPER, we recorded a creditable 66 of these migrants with a possible highest single night count in the south east (if not the country) of 57 on the 6th June. New moths for the site continued to arrive in May and June, BUTTONED SNOUT, CREAM SPOT TIGER, WHITE SATIN, FOUR DOTTED FOOTMAN and NI MOTH, to name a few. There were other notable moths at this time including our third RUDDY CARPET for the site and our second RED NECKED FOOTMAN.
Several Blotched Emerald were found in May and June (picture by Steve Broyd)

Another stat that jumped out of Steves' great review of the year is that in 2010 we recorded 250 different species in July alone!! A cooler July this year produced only (I say only!!) 175 species. Despite the drop in numbers there were still new moths, CLANCY'S RUSTIC and BORDERED STRAW. We were also lucky to have two very scarce return visitors CLAY FANFOOT and MAPLE PROMINENT.
Maple Prominent (picture by Steve Broyd)

 Summers last offerings were firsts of TREE LICHEN BEAUTY and JERSEY TIGER in August. September almost went by without a new moth being recorded but on the night of the 29th we added FOUR SPOTTED FOOTMAN to the castle records.
Tree Lichen Beauty

Jersey Tiger (picture by Steve Broyd)
Four Spotted Footman (picture by Steve Broyd)

Numbers of moth species tend to decrease as it gets to the latter months of the year but sometimes numbers of particular species can be exceptional as with LUNAR UNDERWING which gathered an impressive 2711 moth nights between September 15th and October 29th. October gave us our first SCARCE BORDERED STRAW and November our first JUNIPER PUG.
We concentrate, as I say mainly on the bigger macro moths that occur here, but we do pick up lots of micros which I am slowly getting to grips with (emphasis on the slowly). Steve knows nearly all the micros we get and when I pointed out a largish, in micro terms, moth that we had both missed on the 31st October, Steve recognised it as a rare Mediterranean migrant URESIPHITA GILVATA, I'm looking forward to the time, if and when, I can pick out the names of this difficult group of moths. The final stats are, we recorded 362 species of Macro moth this year and the total number of species recorded rose by 22 to 430 in 3 years!
All the recording is carried out by Steve, Peter Dear, the National Trust Ranger and myself. Pete sets up the traps each night for us all to check in the mornings. I'm looking forward to see what next year will bring and trying to learn a lot more :-)


Mike Attwood said...

Thats a very interesting collection Alan.

Mike H said...

Alan,have had a male and female Blackcap in the back garden this week. If I get close enogh for shot will post on my Flickr account. Mike said...

Interestin creatures, thanks for showing and opening my curiosity!

Warren Baker said...

Good post Alan, I always like a few stats, as you know :-) :-)

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Mike, it's been an interesting year on the moth front, with a few notable events.

Hi Mike, hopefully I'll find the Blackcap over the winter, look forward to seeing your pics if get some :-)

Hi El Campero, i was surprised how quickly I got interested when we started the survey work.

Hi Warren, I thought you might like the stats :-) I like them too but struggle to sort them out myself!!

Christian said...

My word Alan - the Emerald is something special.

Alan Pavey said...

Hi Christian, there are some stunning moths and the Emerald is a beauty :-)