Saturday, 26 July 2008

Moth survey results - part 1

OK, here's the first set of results from the moth survey. But I'll start with a picture of one of the best looking moths, called Buff Arches:
The key results from our wood and the wayleave were:

  • 102 species recorded across all survey sites (two of which were in our wood).
  • These included two Red Data Book species (Triangle, Olive Crescent) and at least three other Nationally Scarce species (Clay Fan-foot, Waved Black and Festoon).
  • In the part of the coppice we had cut 48 species were recorded, including both Red Data Book species and also Clay Fan-foot and Triangle which were in higher numbers than any other survey this summer.
Here's how it was done. Each of the six traps used a white sheet, a mercury vapour lamp, and a box full of old egg boxes and with a sloping glass lid to allow moths in but make it hard for them to get out. There was a petrol-fuelled generator used for each trap, or sometimes one between two where they were near each other:
Here's a couple in action:
They gave the wood an eerie glow - here's a long exposure photo:
And here's the Moth Men in action - they're amazing, they could recognise dozens of species instantly, and as each trap was opened the action was surprisingly fast-paced, I could barely keep up taking photos, and Steve Wheatley was scribbling madly in his notebook to keep track of everything.
I don't think the survey would work without experts like these - there simply isn't time to be looking stuff up in ID books, the moths would have flow away by the time you'd figured out which the first one was!

Anyway, here's some more pictures of the ones I have names for, the rest will follow when I know what they are...

Ruby Tiger
Gold Triangle
Small Emerald
Large Emerald
Peppered Moth
Scorched Carpet (yes, that really is its name!)
And then several other things attracted by the light: UPDATE: you can see the results of our 2009 moth survey here.

In other news, we went up to the wood again this morning and did a bit more to the new shelter - the basic frame should be ready to put up tomorrow, unless we decide to go down to the beach instead! The wood was looking particularly nice on a sunny day like today:
I thought it was time I look some pictures of the coppice regrowth with Tracy standing next to them for scale - it's amazing how fast this stuff grows! Here's a chestnut and then a birch (which was cut a couple of months later on):
We also saw several butterflies around the wood, though they're looking a bit battered! There were two Speckled Woods fluttering around where we had coppiced by the pond, here's one of them:
And White Admirals again, back in their favourite place in the cant we cut last winter:
That's all for now....


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