Monday, 6 August 2012

First catch

There was great excitement in Batch Valley last week as my new moth trap was delivered. I have always been interested in moth-trapping but have never had the confidence to take the plunge. However, spurred on by the moths I have seen in Batch Valley over the last few weeks I decided to give it a go. I bought the Eco20 Heath Trap from Paul Batty, which uses an actinic bulb rather than the more powerful mercury vapour. My decision was based on cost, wanting to be sensitive to my neighbours by not having an MV bulb, having a trap I can use off a car battery and having a trap which is going to not get a dauntingly huge catch.

After calling in at my local wildlife book shop to improve my library of moth ID books, a dry forecast saw the trap going out on Saturday night. It was with some excitement when I got up on Sunday morning to see what I had found. I was not disappointed with my haul of 33 moths. Not a huge number, but for an inexperienced moth-er like me this is ideal as it still took me two hours to identify them all (and I still needed some help with a couple of them)!

Early thorn
My list of moths:
Common Footman 9
Drinker 2
Willow Beauty 1
Uncertain 2
Uncertain/Rustic 1
Magpie 1
Scalloped Oak 4
Small-dotted Wave 1
Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing 1
Early Thorn 1
Burnished Brass 1
Double Square Spot/Triple-spotted Clay 1
July Highflyer 2
Red Twin-spot Carpet 1
unidentifed 1
Catoptria pinella 1
Agriphila tristella/selasella 1

Burnished Brass

An enjoyable and challenging session. I caught a couple of my target moths - Early Thorn and Burnished Brass, which are beautiful insects. As the list shows above, identifying moths is difficult for the inexperienced. This is particularly the case when there are worn individuals, and some when down as an either/or. There is also much variation within species, with the two July Highflyers being quite different colours.

July Highflyer

Here's hoping for a dry night next weekend.

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