Monday, 25 May 2015

Moth Trap no longer mothballed

This weekend I have pretty much been tied to the house, except that is for a brief excursion to Manor Farm Country Park to check some nest boxes, oh and a trip to Old Winchester Hill for a walk, so it seemed like an appropriate time to get my moth trap out of storage. The trip to Manor Farm was a success in that four of my six boxes were occupied, one with a pair of Barn Owls, two with breeding Kestrels and one with breeding Stock Doves. The chicks of the Barn Owls and Kestrels were too small to ring, and the Stock Doves were on eggs, so I will have to go back for another visit.

I haven't run my moth trap in the garden since last October and keep meaning to put it out but just haven't felt that inspired to do so. Rob had put the trap out at work on Thursday evening and I had taken a quick look at his haul on Friday morning, which was enough to tempt me to give it a go. The weather conditions looked good on Saturday evening so I checked everything was working a put it out. I use a Robinson designed trap with a 150w mercury vapour lamp, and usually leave the trap on overnight, much to the disgust of the resident Hedgehogs, although they soon get used to it.

It proved to be a worthwhile exercise as my first haul of the year included 80 moths of 26 species, several caddisflies and Ichneumon wasps and a few Cockchafers, or May bugs. Ten years ago I would catch large numbers of Cockchafers, but in recent years the numbers have dropped off, four were in the trap this time. The adult beetle will live for about a month, but the complete life-cycle from egg to adult lasts three-four years.


There was nothing really noteworthy in the trap but a good variety which included Spectacle, Poplar and Eyed Hawkmoth, White Ermine, Flame Shoulder, White-pointBrimstone Moth, Heart and Dart, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Pale Tussock, Small Square-spot, Small Waved Umber, Common Marbled Carpet, Vine's Rustic, Flame Carpet, Treble Lines, Small Phoenix, Eyed Hawkmoth, Hebrew Character, Rustic Shoulder-knot, Oak Hook-tip and Green Carpet.

Pale Tussock
Small Waved Umber
Flame Shoulder
Rustic Shoulder-knot
White Ermine
Eyed Hawkmoth

Today (25th May) I spent much of the day in the garden, there were a couple of highlights; a Red Kite that drifted north at 11:50 and a Hobby that flew west at 13:45. I also caught up with my first Orthoptera of the year, an adult Slender Groundhopper and a 1st instar nymph Dark Bush-cricket

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