Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Been quiet

Things are very busy so I've been quiet on the blog recently. A few updates:

   1. Bagley Wood NMN was cancelled due to rain so nothing to report from there I'm afraid.
   2. Saturday night I trapped as part of Earth Trust's bugblitz, and of course also happened to be NMN. Also the theme is woodlands and I happened to be trapping Little Wittenham Woods (VC 22) for the event, whilst Phil Sterling also trapped at Paradise Woods so we could compare young plantation with a semi-mature woodland. I put out a ridiculous amount of traps (3 MV's, 1 40W Actinic, and 10 8W Actinics) to try and cover three distinct areas of the woodland and packing up really wasn't an awful lot of fun. It was a fairly good night and yielded 165 species so far. However, no species was especially abundant and there was a distinct paucity of all the canopy feeding tortix moths that usually fill the traps in such a location around this time of year. 3 Green Oak Tortrix, the odd Aleimma loeflingiana and the odd Archips xylosteana along with a handful of Pandemis cerasana and P. heparana and not a single individual of the oak feeding pyralid usually in great numbers - Phycita roborella! There was nothing to write home about either, everything I caught was common and wholly expected, which makes you wonder how many species there could have been. Anyway, there was a nice capture of hawkmoths, Buff-tips, Large Emeralds and Peach Blossom to keep the public interested for hours on the sunday, so in other respects it was very rewarding. Interestingly, Phil had much better results in Paradise Woods with at least 150 species in just the first of his 3 MV robinson traps and considerably greater numbers of moths generally, including a really interesting capture of a mating pair of cochylid moths of two different species - Cochylis hybridella and C. molliculana!!!
   3. In the garden I am having a distinctly below average year. Numbers of most species are very small, the only real exception being Dark Arches with over 100 on Saturday night. This isn't abnormal though a little earlier than previous years. Swallow-tailed Moth for example usually appears in double figures, and regularly in its very brief flight period but this year I have been lucky to get more than one and most nights I don't get any at all. Along with generally poor numbers quite a few species that I had seen by this time last year (Note - before the July good weather) have been absent this year so far. Same with the butterflies and several other insects that I normally notice in greater numbers and diversity. Marc Botham, Benson

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