Tuesday, 21 January 2014

And how was it for you...?

Peter Hall (thankyou!) has completed the last few dissections of moths from me for 2013 so I've now been able to sit down with all the data and work out exactly how good a year it was here at Westcott, Bucks.

"Fantastic" is the only word for it.  Even though the weather for the first six months was often dismal, overall it proved to be the best year ever.  This bog-standard village garden on the clay produced exactly 600 species of lepidoptera, comprising 575 moths (306 macros, 269 micros) and 25 butterflies.  I don't know why the place gets as many species as it does, although I'm certainly not complaining.  However, I suspect it may be a while before those figures are equalled here again.  Dave Wilton  


  1. You certainly get very good numbers and a great range of species - i get quite envious at times!

  2. My annual micro total is usually around the 200 mark so there was a significant increase in 2013 which I think was largely due to me making even more of an effort than normal to keep any unidentifiable specimens. Almost all of them were subsequently confirmed under Peter's microscope. The overall moth list here is just a couple short of 800 (accrued since 2005) and goes to show what can be done if you are prepared to hang on to the "I don't knows" and get them checked out!

  3. Very impressive Dave, and I'm not at all jealous! How do the numbers of individuals compare to previous years? My impression was that although there were plenty of species there were fewer than normal individuals, but I haven't yet done any number-crunching to back up that impression.

  4. That was what I found too, Martin. The springtime Quakers were particularly hard-hit but, as in 2012, even the later emergers like Heart & Dart and Large Yellow Underwing were around in much lower numbers than I've come to expect. It will be interesting to see what happens this year. Doing a very simple (and probably statistically unsound!) analysis by dividing the overall number of moths caught by the number of times the trap was run, 2013 comes out at an average of 123 moths per trap night. That was an improvement over the 74 per trap night of 2012 and was roughly on a par with the figures for 2009/10/11 but it was nowhere near the 201 per trap night of 2006 which was the last really good year here.


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