Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Depressing thought...

Last night's rain didn't stop the moths and, even though half of them were Large Yellow Underwings, the garden actinic trap here at Westcott, Bucks managed a reasonable 164 moths of 39 species.  The little Carnation Tortrix Cacoecimorpha pronubana was new for the year.  This moth is nothing to look at from its upper side but has bright yellow hind-wings which you get a hint of even from the underside view below.  After an absence of several days some migrants returned to the trap with the appearance of a pair of Udea ferrugalis.

Cacoecimorpha pronubana, Westcott 25th August

Cacoecimorpha pronubana, Westcott 25th August

Udea ferrugalis, Westcott 25th August

Having already commented that I thought this was a good year for garden moths despite the first six months of it being very slow, I got to wondering exactly how many more species might still be added to the garden list in 2015.  A quick comparison with last year shows that unfortunately there are now only about 40 guaranteed adult visitors left to show in the trap (that total doesn't include a few of the regular autumn moths such as Mottled Umber, Chestnut and Grey Shoulder-knot which were recorded here at the beginning of this year).  Still, with the assistance of the usual crop of autumn leaf-mines I seem to be on track to get very close to if not equalling 2014's record total of 600 moth species recorded in the garden in a single year, even before considering those moths in the freezer awaiting determination by dissection.  It shows what can be achieved if a) you are lucky enough to have some decent habitat locally and b) you are sad enough to have nothing better to do with your time!

Dave Wilton

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