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current posts

 
Mon 22nd December 2008 10:10 by Jack Astley
December 21st
One female Great diving beetle
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Sun 21st December 2008 19:06 by John Bebbington
Langport, 21 December
Despite warmer nights there has been very litlle on the wing. Last night produced 1 December moth, 1 Winter moth, 1 Light Brown Apple Moth. Last night and again tonight I have taken the dog for a late walk but tree-trunk searches have produced on;y 1 male Winter moth. The local hawthorn hedges have not provided James' tortricid.
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Fri 19th December 2008 18:07 by James McGill
As well as December Moth there are some other species about at the moment. Please also look for Exapate congelatella if you trap this weekend. It is an attractive long winged silver-grey tortrix. Although it is only known from Merryfield Airfield, given the late flight period in Somerset it might well exist undetected elsewhere.

1631 December Moth 3

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Fri 19th December 2008 10:42 by Peter Tennant
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe

Although the temperature went down to 2 degrees it was a good night for moths with 20 December Moths, our first 2008 Winter Moth, 1 late Yellow-lined Quaker and (is it late or early?) a Hebrew Character! This seems to be the first to have been recorded in Somerset in December since Eric Kearns reported one on Boxing Day 2002!

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Fri 19th December 2008 09:32 by Ian Mathieson
My first trapping of the month last night produced 10 December Moths, my first of the year. Earlier in the month(05/12/08) I had a Cypress Carpet at the kitchen window which appears to be quite a late date for this moth.
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Thu 18th December 2008 10:28 by Peter Tennant
Whitefield, Wiveliscombe

December has been a miserable month moth-wise but it was warmer last night with a min temp of 5 degrees and we had 9 December moths (one pair in cop) and our first 2008 Mottled Umber.  For a change we used an actinic light on the trap and I see from the Somerset records that this light is quite successful in attracting the Mottled Umber.

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Fri 5th December 2008 20:25 by John Bebbington
1044 Acleris ferrugana, Langport 27 November 2008
1044 Acleris ferrugana

Many thanks to James McGill for identifying this female Acleris ferrugana which was alongside 3 Light Brown Apple moths in the trap.

It is totally different from Jack Astley's image on the UK Moths website - how does one ID specimens like this without the expert help of people like James? As I had absolutely no idea what it was I kept it and posted it to him.

This is a new species for my garden. The nearest Oak trees (the larval foodplant) are 300m or so away, the other side of the main road.
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Wed 3rd December 2008 19:48 by Ian Mathieson
The figures are on the face of it quite disturbing. There is no doubt that macro moth numbers are well down in the last two years but we have had two extremely poor summers in a row which must have affected numbers. Is it also possible that the poor weather in the last two years has affected the number of times the trap was put out whilst the exceptional migrants that were being caught in 2005 and 2006 increased the amount of trapping.
In 2007 I did not see 20 different species that I had seen in the previous four years at this address however only 3 of these were not seen again in 2008. These were Vestal, Hummingbird Hawk Moth and Garden Tiger. This year there have been 6 species that I have not seen having recorded them in the previous 5 years. These are Plain Golden Y, Bordered Beauty, Brown Silver Lines, Large Wainscot, Satellite and Spruce Carpet.
My yearly figures are as follows:
2003 16777 individuals from 120 trappings
2004 16702 from 142
2005 15790 from 141
2006 I've mislaid the information!
2007 8682 from 105
2008 12470 from 116
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Wed 3rd December 2008 18:04 by James McGill
If I hadn't looked I would also have said this year was better in my garden. I would be wrong!

2000 - 17682
2001 - 10330
2002 - 20030
2003 - 13734
2004 - 17135
2005 - 21036
2006 - 29804
2007 - 11495
2008 - 10269

It's actually the worst year numerically for macros of those with very similar levels of coverage. There were only two more species this year than last. It has been up and down in the recent past but I'm more concerned about the fate of individual species.

There are 139 macros to have occurred in every year of this period. Lost to this list since last year are Mottled Beauty, Herald, Small Emerald and Miller. Like 2007 (when July Highflyer, Small Fan-foot and Burnished Brass went awol) some of these are moths I never imagined I would stop seeing, even temporarily.

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Mon 1st December 2008 20:59 by Ian Mathieson
Moth Numbers in 2008
I was very interested in James' entries last month about the numbers of moths that he had recorded this year. My impression was that this year, although not a classic year, was a huge improvement on 2007.
I sometimes think that I am more interested in the maths than the moths and I thought I would compare my totals, over a 5 year period, in a garden 20 miles away from Taunton with those that he has given. There is a suprising disparity between the two sets of figures. I have listed them in numerical order with the most numerous at the top of the list.

  • Setacious Hebrew Character -221 individuals on 5 yr average -11%
  • Heart and Dart -1151 / - 77%
  • Large Yellow Underwing +30 / +2%
  • Common Wainscot -95/ -13%
  • Common Footman -233/ -48%
  • Dark Arches -243/ -57%
  • Lunar Underwing -316/ -90%
  • Square Spot Rustic +223/+69%
  • Straw Dot -42/ -18%
  • Brimstone +14/ +7%
  • Dingy Footman +51/ +34%
  • Uncertain -103/ -77%
  • Vines Rustic +46 /+35%
  • Shuttle Shaped Dart +105/ +105%
  • Green Carpet +6/ +8%
  • Jersey Tiger - only one ever seen in my garden

Assuming I get a December Moth before the end of the year I will end up with about 248 different Macro species. This compares to a high of 272 different species in 2004 and a low of 231 in 2007.

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