Sunday, 16 May 2010

Some Moths, Some Bats and No Badgers

On Friday night we ran a (slightly early as it was really Saturday) National Moth Night event. The target was moths and bats, the latter have declined, probably because night-flying insects seem to have got scarcer, certainly many moth species have.

We started by trying to see the Badgers feeding at the Woodland hide, unfortunately the Badgers were true to form, at least when I try to see them and did not show up. As it got dark we set five moth traps running and tried a very speculative couple of goes at "sugaring". The bat detectors started clicking and slapping as the Pipistrelle bats came out to feed, they particularly liked feeding over the moth traps.

The night was calm which was good, but the sky cleared, so the temperature dropped, which was not so good. An ideal night for "mothing" is calm, moonless, cloudy and warm, perfect nights are those muggy ones when sleep is difficult, then the moths will fly for long periods and so are more likely to come within range of the trap.

As well as moths the lights attract caddis-flies, beetles, wasps (especially parasitic ones) and lots of tiny flies. The complete list of moths caught on the night, some of which were only found when we opened up the two traps run overnight, was as follows:
Clouded Border, Common Wave, Common White Wave, May Highflyer, Red-green Carpet, White Ermine, Muslin Moth, Clouded Drab, Nut-tree Tussock, Flame Shoulder, Common Quaker, Hebrew Character, Shuttle-shaped Dart, Pebble Prominent, Pale Prominent, Lesser swallow Prominent, Least Black Arches and an unidentified Pug species.

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