Sunday, 20 March 2016

That's more like it

One of my targets this year is the M40 Compensation Area on the south-east corner of Bernwood Forest.  This is former agricultural land which was converted into suitable habitat for the Black Hairstreak butterfly as a mitigation measure when part of the forest was lost in the late-1980s during the construction of the motorway.  It comprises sheltered bands of blackthorn and privet scrub with small areas of wildflower meadow in between.  The site is owned and supposedly managed by the Highways Agency but they've carried out no work at all there for a couple of decades now.  With the fence having been breached in many places, it has become the top grazing spot for every Fallow, Roe and Muntjac Deer in the local area.  As those who have visited will know, it is a very long walk (nearly 3 kilometres) from the main forest car-park, the entrance isn't easy to find and when you get there the traffic noise from the M40 is horrendous!  However, the Black Hairstreak currently does quite well there and I'm interested to find out what moths might also be present.  A visit last night for the usual three hours with one 125wt MV and one 15wt actinic brought in a very welcome 420 moths of 12 species (all macros).  There was nothing of real interest and nothing which hasn't already been reported on the blog, but it was brilliant to see so much activity despite the constant stream of speeding car headlights less than 20 metres away!  Needless to say, the top counts were provided by Small Quaker (134) and Common Quaker (264).

Part of catch, M40 Compensation Area 19th March

Back at Westcott the garden actinic caught 16 moths of five species, of which Early Thorn was new for this year's garden list.

Early Thorn, Westcott 19th March

Dave Wilton
Westcott, Bucks

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