Wednesday, 10 March 2021

Moth Fix

Although the COVID message is still "Stay at Home", following the very slight easing of restrictions on Monday I decided last night to take my daily exercise after dark at nearby Finemere Wood, where I knew there wouldn't be another human for a couple of miles, let alone two metres!  I would have run a pair of Robinson traps but a troublesome generator meant that in the end just a single MV light was operated for the usual three hours from nightfall.  The session certainly provided me with the expected "fix" of moths, with 271 individuals of 15 species turning up (and more Small Quakers arriving by the minute as I packed up even though the temperature had by then fallen to 5C).  A somewhat better count than the three moths I got at home!  The full list was as follows:  Tortricodes alternella (18), Yellow Horned (24), Shoulder Stripe (3), March Moth (2), Small Brindled Beauty (11), Oak Beauty (4), Spring Usher (1), Dotted Border (3), Early Grey (1), Chestnut (4), Satellite (3), Common Quaker (3), Small Quaker (189), Hebrew Character (2) & Red Chestnut (3).  The males and females of Tortricodes alternella are a slightly different shape and the female shown below was a particularly well marked individual.

Tortricodes alternella, Finemere Wood 9th March

Yellow Horned, Finemere Wood 9th March

Yellow Horned, Finemere Wood 9th March

Shoulder Stripe, Finemere Wood 9th March

Red Chestnut, Finemere Wood 9th March

A warmer night would undoubtedly have improved the species count, although it was interesting to see that at Finemere Tortricodes alternella is already well past its peak while Pale Brindled Beauty (none seen) and Spring Usher must be all but over.  

Dave Wilton Westcott, Bucks

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