Sunday, 23 June 2013

Mam-moth catches

Well, the last week has produced some impressive catches in the moth trap, mostly due to a couple of very muggy, still nights in the middle of last week. Both Wednesday and Thursday nights were very busy, each with 2-300 individual moths in the trap. This necessitated some pretty speedy processing, just picking out the moths that looked like new species, and discarding the rest for later release. These bumper nights seem to produce more than their fair share of new species, and in the two nights produced 34! Well chuffed!

The moth trap at night makes a humming noise like a distant harley davidson with so many inside. The common species around here at this time of year are heart and dart, common wainscot (few smoky too), marbled and middle-barred minors, green carpet, setaceous hebrew character, elephant hawk, spectacle. The Thursday night may have bagged one or two migrants, silver Y and bordered sallow (my first of this species). Having a nice view out the back of the garden may have other benefits!

I use a "Robinson" style 125W MV trap, which I bought a couple of years ago. Previously I ran a battered 12v actinic "Heath", which had seen better days, and wasn't being wonderfully effective. The new trap certainly appears to draw in and retain a very high proportion of its moths. I have, like many others I think, the problem of birds around the trap in the morning, in my case blackbirds. But I have found that so long as the moths are dispersed in the bushy vegetation on release, the blackbirds won't spend time looking for them, rather they go back repeatedly to the lawn where the moth trap was. So touch wood most of the released moths survive for another day.

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