Thursday, 20 June 2013

Century at last

What a year! TeamMoth and other moth-ers across the land seem agreed that it is a dreadful year for moths. A week or so ago, I did the sums and discovered that I'd recorded a third fewer individual moths in my garden this year compared to the same period in 2012. Last year hardly goes down in history as a golden spring, with the wettest April on record leading into a very wet summer, so that just shows how bad things are this year.

Interestingly, the species richness of moths isn't reduced by anywhere near as much as the abundance of them i.e. the species are mostly there, just in far smaller numbers than I'm used to. Is this everyone else's experience too?

It's a bit ironic that the Garden Moth Challenge was instigated in what seems to be such a poor year. However, perhaps it is the perfect tonic - giving us all more incentive to put the trap out in weather conditions that we might not have bothered with otherwise. It's certainly had that effect on me as I struggle to keep up with the totals of people whose gardens are hundreds of miles further north than mine! It's also been great to see all the moth chat on Twitter and on this blog and share in moth grumbles, pug ID traumas and (occasional) trap triumphs. So many thanks to Tristan for organising GMC and running it so efficiently.

Anyway, back to my own trap. Having spluttered and struggled to 100 species, we then had some of the best nights of the year this week, which has propelled me rapidly on to the current total of 114. There are lots of species I normally see that haven't appeared at all this spring, such as Pine Beauty and Powdered Quaker, but there are also new ones. So far, I've recorded 8 new species for the garden - five micros, identified thanks to the new Sterling & Parsons book and confirmed by a patient County Moth Recorder, and three macros, Barred Umber, Square Spot and Oak Nycteoline. That's one of the great things about moth recording, there is ALWAYS something to get excited about.

All the best

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