Saturday, 28 December 2019

Cookham 2019 - where have all the macros gone?

I get the impression from other postings on this blog that 2019 has generally been a good year for moth numbers. However, in terms of number of macro species recorded, this year in my Cookham garden has actually been rather poor. In fact, I have had the lowest number since I started moth recording back in 2013. The macro species total for this year was only 190, compared to 242 last year and 227 in 2017.
There are certain common moths that one expects to see every year, but this year all these moths were absent from my garden for the very first time: Early Thorn, Swallow Prominent, Straw Dot, Black Arches, Buff Ermine, Fan-foot, Miller, Cloaked Minor, Middle-barred Minor, Red-line Quaker, Flame, Flame Shoulder and Six-striped Rustic.
Trapping effort matches previous years, so I suspect the reason must be habitat loss and/or climatic reasons. I would be interested to hear if anybody else has had a similar experience this year.
Fingers crossed that 2020 sees the re-appearance of all my missing moths!
Happy New Year to everyone,
Steve Trigg


  1. Hi Steve, my figures mirror yours. Probably 40 less macro's and round about the same amount less micro's. However having done the GMS again this year, which does tend to concentrate on the more familiar moths, I found the totals very similar to last year. I'm not sure what this is telling us. Next year we might find out.

  2. That's all very surprising, Steve, and certainly contrary to my findings at Westcott. Of those species you mention I only had the one Miller but the remainder turned up in their usual numbers. Some of them are double-brooded so in effect you missed them twice. Have you noticed much loss of habitat locally? There's pressure everywhere from new housing developments but at least you are protected to the east by the river and the Cliveden and Hedsor estates beyond.

  3. Interesting. In terms of numbers of moths and number of species I had a good year for macros adding 21 species to my garden list and with more individuals than previously. However, on closer inspection most of the species you mention did indeed show a significant decrease in numbers caught. The species that were most notable by their absence for me were Small Angle Shades and Chocolate-tip. Beautiful Golden Y was down to a single individual.

  4. Quite a few spececies also failed to show or were in smaller numbers here too.


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