Thursday, 26 February 2015

Warm night but moth numbers still low

Took advantage of last nights balmy weather to complete Feb surveys at Bagley Woods and Harcourt Arboretum. tried to get there early this morning to avoid the rain but Oxfordshire's road network's inability to deal with traffic when the A34 goes down caused me a 2 hr journey from Didcot to Bagley and I arrived just as the heavens opened. Anyway, it was t-shirt and shorts weather last night so i had expectations of a fairly good catch. It was certainly better than January's catch, but still rather disappointing. The night started with a quick hour or so scanning tree trunks on Shotover Hill trying to find some wingless females. No luck, and more puzzlingly I only saw one moth - a male Dotted Border!

The traps (2 x MV left overnight) this morning at Bagley yielded my first Small brindled Beauties of the year, though only 4, along with a single Spring Usher, Tortricodes alternella (5), Acleris notana/ferrugana (2), March Moth (5), Pale Brindled Beauty (3), Chestnut (20), Satellite (8) and Acleris cristana (1). The good numbers of those species spending the winter as adults shows that conditions were good, and further supports my feeling that 'winter' moths have not had a good year.

At Harcourt, in a single MV trap left overnight, numbers of Pale Brindled Beauty were better with 13 caught, but other species abundances were very low: March Moth (2), T. alternella (2), Red-green Carpet (1), Chestnut (4), A. notana/ferrugana (1) and my first Common Quaker of the year.

The garden trap at Didcot was, as per usual, empty, and the Rothamsted trap at work in Wallingford has only seen one moth so far this year. Marc Botham, Didcot

Small Brindled Beauty - Bagley Woods 25-02-15

Common Quaker - Harcourt Arboretum 25-02-15


  1. I picked up this year's results from the Marsh Gibbon RIS trap yesterday. Four moths, so well out-performing the trap at CEH!!

  2. Crikey, the RIS traps on farmland are ususally reigning in the Hebrew Characters by now. What a start to 2015!!!! Just made an alteration to my records as realised accidentally put A. hastiana in when should have been A. cristana.


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