30 May, 2011

Garden Mothing- What I've been catching

Garden Mothing- What I've been catching...

Three days later, and without further ado, here are the results from three nights worth of garden moth trapping. Before I start, I must warn you, this is a seriously mothy post with lots of Latin, and lots of statistics; so don't be surprised if by the end of the post you can confidently identify a Striped Lynchis from a Water Betony, based exclusively on the external positing of the hindwing discal spot.

First off, the trapping location...

A pretty average suburban garden, with a large Pyracantha, Hawthorn tree (insect magnet), Buddhlia and Hazel tree providing the main moth attractions. In the borders, there are quite a few flowering plants, which prove popular with the Silver Y's, and have even attracted a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the past, and there are two maturing apple trees, as well as a Crab Apple and two Silver birch hidden from view. The position where the trap is in the photo seems to be the most effective positioning. After two full years of trapping, the garden list currently stands at around 300 species, with around twice as many macro moths caught than micro moths.

Now for the technical stuff- a long light tube, a box of wood and two ladders holding up an old bed sheet...

The weather really helps when moth trapping. Generally, cloudy skies and high temperatures encourage more moths out on the wing than windy, clear and cold nights.

The night of the 27th was one of those windy, clear and cold nights, and as a result only 12 species were recorded. Here's the list:

10 Heart and Dart
3 Pale Mottled Willow
1 Angle Shades
1 Garden Carpet
2 Willow Beauty
1 Marbled Minor agg. (there are 3 species of Minor that can't be visually IDed, so need to be labelled together 'agg.')
1 Green Pug
1 Double-striped Pug
5 Epiphyas postvittana (Light Brown Apple Moth)
2 Argyresthia trifasciata

Angle Shades...

Heart and Dart- the most common moth in the garden at present...

The 28th was a much better night, and after strategically reconsidering a new position for the trap at the opposite end of the garden, I caught a total of 62 moths of 29 species:

1 Beautiful Hook-tip
1 Small Blood-vein
2 Maiden's Blush
1 Garden Carpet
1 Green Pug
1 Double-striped Pug
2 Freyer's Pug
1 Common Pug
11 Heart and Dart
3 Pale Mottled Willow
1 Light Brocade
1 Dark Arches
1 Large Yellow Underwing
1 Marbled Brown
1 White Ermine
3 Marbled Minor agg.
4 Willow Beauty
1 Treble-lines
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart
1 Pandemis cerasana
1 Tortrix viridana (Green Oak Tortrix)
1 Dipleurina lacustrata
1 Eudonia mercurella
1 Epiblema rosaecolana
1 Agapeta hamana
1 Zeiraphera isertana
15 Epiphyas postvittana (Light Brown Apple Moth)
1 Parornix anglicella
8 Aphomia sociella (Bee Moth)
1 Argyresthia spinosella
Beautiful Hook-tip...

Marbled Brown...

Light Brocade...

Agapeta hamana- reminds me of a banana for some reason...

Last night was another productive night of trapping, again with 29 species caught:

1 Blotched Emerald
2 Treble Brown Spot
1 Small Blood-vein
2 Common Marbled Carpet
1 Garden Carpet
1 Straw Dot
2 Freyer's Pug
3 Double-striped Pug
2 Green Pug
1 Common Pug
1 Maiden's Blush
4 Pale Mottled Willow
1 Knot Grass
13 Heart and Dart
6 Willow Beauty
5 Treble Lines
1 Marbled Minor agg.
1 Shuttle-shaped Dart
1 Brimstone
1 Marbled Brown
1 Aphelia paleana (Timothy Tortrix)
1 Ditula angustiorana (Red-barred Tortrix)
1 Aleimma loeflingiana
2 Archips podana (Large Fruit-tree Tortrix)
1 Tortrix viridana (Green Oak Tortrix)
1 Udea olivalis
13 Epiphyas postvittana
7 Aphomia sociella (Bee Moth)
1 Caloptilia alchimiella

Blotched Emerald- a personal favourite...

Freyer's Pug

Aleimma loeflingiana...

Green Oak Tortrix...

Udea olivalis...

27 May, 2011

Stay cool... everybody dusk

Stay cool... everybody dusk

Oh no! It's 10pm, its dark outside, and you've got so hooked on Glee, or whatever it is you watch on these T.V.s they have now, that you've totally forgotten to put the moth trap out. You can't be assed to get it out of the shed at this time of night, and anyway you think you can see rain clouds in the distance heading your way... so what do you do?

... Stay cool is what you do.

Fetch a net, fetch a few pots, fetch a torch, and most importantly, fetch a Stella. Sit down on the garden bench, and wait for the moths to come to you. You are now dusking.

I've been doin' a bit of it myself recently, with a combination of A-Levels, rubbish weather and other bits and bobs stopping me from putting the moth trap out. Here are a few of the commoner species in the garden at this time of year.

Flame Shoulder...

Treble Brown Spot...

Treble Lines- very original...

Common Marbled Carpet...

It helps to stay in touch with your Latin side if your brave enough to delve into the micro moths. Alternatively, you could just copy and paste the names from Wikipedia...

Pseudargyrotoza conwagana- you can't make this stuff up...

Argyresthia trifasciata- so small it makes blades of grass look big...

Crambus lathoniellus- a common species of 'grass moth' which you can expect to easily disturb from your lawn during the day...

Lathronympha strigana- had a nice orange glow to it in the flesh...

Traps out tonight, but the temperatures have dropped right down, so expectations aren't too high. Drop by again tomorrow for an exclusive bonus full catch report. Hows that for a hook?

15 May, 2011

Everybody say "awhhh"

Everybody say "awhhh"...

Two things are inevitable in May: exams, and fledged birds.

The latter is something I look forward to (unlike the former... surprisingly) every year in the form of a family of Blue tits, which usually fledge without fail from nextdoor's nest box. This year however, they haven't even investigated the box for some reason or another, and I was starting to get a bit afraid that the blog would be devoid of fluffy little squeaking fledglings photos for a year.

Not to fear though, as today, a new family appeared on the block. Can you guess what species they are? I'll give you a clue, it has the letters O, B, I and N in it...

Well I don't know which famous Taliban leader you were thinking of, but I'm talking about juvenile Robins- three of which have been kickin' about the garden for most of today. Like their parents, they were ridiculously curious, and allowed for very close viewing whilst they fed on the stocked up feeders.

Under the watchful eyes of Mum, of course...

I thought I'd give a bit of a helping hand myself, so I popped off to Squires, and came back with these...

They've always looked so appealing in the bird food catalogues, and I was hungry at the time, so I thought I'd try one. From personal experience, wouldn't suggest them. They were a bit too crisp, and lacked any flavour, so I soaked them in water to see if that would bring out the pizazz.

It didn't work, so I gave them to the Robins instead, who seemed to like them...

Everybody say "awhhh"...