A year of mothing

It’s a year to the day since I first got bitten by the mothing bug, as it were. Initially, it was all about seeing what turned up at the scientific trap and trying to get a photo or two of anything interesting. I did keep a record of new species and I think had logged and photographed approximately 130 of the 2600 or so species we see in the British Isles by the end of the long, hot summer of 2018 and into the winter.

Canary-shouldered Thorn
Canary-shouldered Thorn, first one of 2019 for me

I kept on lighting up until well into December in the vain hope of spotting some of the late autumn and early winter moths with marvellous names such as Merveille du Jour and the more obviously named November and December Moths. It wasn’t to be, but a few others did turn up late in the season, no Mervs, but a November or two.

I started occasionally lighting up again in February 2019 and then more seriously into the spring as the Quakers and Muslins began to turn up. As of my first year anniversary, I have logged and photographed 270 moth species. So a little more than 10% of those we might see across the country.

Least Yellow Underwing, new for me 25 July 2019
Least Yellow Underwing, new for me 25 July 2019

Weirdly, the temperature yesterday and today are the same as they were this time last year and I had high hopes for some of the summer highlights, the less common Pine and Convolvulus Hawk-moths, some Garden Tigers and the like too (they’re spotty and used to be called Leopards). None of those last night, but I did have my first Canary-shouldered Thorn of the year (it was very worn) and a motley crew of Mottled Rustic and the usual greys and browns, and small flat moths that look like bird much, such as the Lime-speck Pug, and the black and white Carpets, Least and Garden. Also new to me was the Least Yellow Underwing, pictured above.

Buff-tip on Silver Birch twigs
Buff-tip on Silver Birch twigs, tree favoured by its larvae

You can see my moth-trapping logs here. And, just so you know, all moths are released unharmed at dusk away from the trapping site. I’m still holding out for some more NFM species this week as the heatwave persists. Meanwhile, I asked the good people of the Moths UK Flying Tonight Facebook group what they were hoping to see.

Claire W got 2 Ruby Tigers “which was lovely” and said she too would love a Pine Hawk!

Mandy H is hoping for “Small and select.”

Dave M had a small trap out in woodland last night, and got a Pine Hawk! Also got a Gypsy and Oncocera semirubella, not normally found in such habitat! I have another trap out at my place of work for tonight. Either I’ll get something amazing or be knee-deep in LBJ’s.

Jo W lit up last night and got her first Green Silver Lines and Least Carpet. I always find it amazing how something is common for one area yet rare in another!

Rory M asked how we all find these moths and was advised by Sue T that it’s usually a trap

Andrew D had a jersey tiger last night

Stephen T said any Hawk would be good.

Bill M (the VC29 County Recorder) suggested Crimson Underwing, Clifden Nonpareil, Scarce Bordered Straw, White-spotted Pinion, True Lovers Knot, The Latin, Spoladea recurvalis all in his dreams. Although he reckoned two of those are possibilities and that a Jersey tiger would be nice also.

Leonard C was not too worried about what turns up but an Orache would be nice.

Dennis C said an Old Lady (any old lady!) would make my night … I disturbed one behind the garage once soon after we moved in, but I’ve never seen one to photograph. He did have three Jersey Tigers, which are on several people’s wishlists.

Wayne C is after Buff Arches and Bagworm Moth.

Alan S told us he is lighting up. Had a big haul in the field last night including Leopard, Pine Hawks, Small “Ellie” Hawk. Feels like another good one tonight.

Elarna R said a Jersey Tiger flitted past in the garden a little while ago (SE London) she was worried she wouldn’t see any this year, he’s a bit late! [This species was one of the first I saw on my first night trapping at home, dB/]

Paul H revealed he’s not fussy about what turns up “just as long as there’s something new to science in tonight’s catch.”

Su R told us her dream is an Alchemist! and Allan R is after a Sycamore

Author: bob投注平台

Award-winning freelance science writer, author of Deceived Wisdom. Sharp-shooting photographer and wannabe rockstar.