As 2017 draws to a close I’ve been tidying up my records ready to submit to the CMR and it has prompted me to pen a quick summary of the year. The brilliant National Moth Recording scheme has, once again, meant that I’ve been able to record all the moths I’ve caught and/or seen and a press of a button allows me to download them as an Excel file and organise them. If anyone is daft enough to be interested, the full spreadsheet is here, but what follows is a brief summary.
In 2016 I caught 242 different species in the garden MV trap; in 2017 that number has risen to 261. I uploaded 1203 records from the trap, some of which were for multiple records of the same moth and so probably represent around 1600 moths in total. The difference in species totals is largely due to my improvement in identifying micros I think, with 89 this year and only 61 last year, meaning that I was actually slightly down on the number of macros.
In addition to those I trapped myself in the garden I found two species in the field and also saw another nine trapped by other people, bringing the annual total to 272 different species. It’s tempting to assume that these are all the same as last year, but my total lifetime species list is 370 meaning that I’m finding new moths – and also not re-finding ones previously seen. I’ve picked a few highlights from various months, as follows below.
The first trapping was in March and resulted in an addition to my Orthosia moths: Twin-spotted Quaker.
April brought another moth that I’d been hoping to see in the form of Streamer, a wonderfully outlandish moth.
May was a month in which I didn’t find much that was new, but spent lots of time looking at the micros that were coming in greater numbers to the trap. Nonetheless, the winning photo in the beauty contest was of this Muslin Moth, a common visitor, but one that I think is close to perfection.
In June my focus was more on bees than moths. However, the month still brought lots of beautiful species and I’ve picked out Obscure Wainscot and Beautiful Brocade as two highlights for me, both new for the garden.
By July the trap was filling up each night I ran it, but a tricky period of life meant that this wasn’t as often as I’d have liked. However, I enjoyed examining the bird-dropping moths and spent a number of days trying to get to grips with them. There are too many to feature so I’ve simply picked one that I like, Pammene fasciana, a common visitor during the summer months.
August is easier for me because it coincides with the summer vacation and allows me to trap more often. The number of moths is sometimes intimidating, but at least it offers opportunities for new species. Again, I also spent a good deal of time looking at bees and finding new species (for me) everywhere, but the moth I’ve picked out wasn’t new to me. It is, though, an incredible species in terms of the colours it shows and, from that point of view, one of my favourite trappings of the year: The Herald.
September brought many of the Autumnal moths including the thorns, but my pick is this Vapourer, one I’d been trying to catch having somehow missed it the first year. The white patches and the overall shape make it unmistakable.
October brought two of my favourite patterned moths, both of which mimic the green and browns of late summer moss and bark: Merveille du Jour and Green-brindled Crescent.
I’ve also slipped in another moth from October here because November was a write-off for me due to poor weather and heavy workload. It’s The Vestal, a lovely migrant moth from the warmer climes of southern Europe and Africa. In part it makes me feel guilty because there was a wonderful period of migration at this time which I didn’t take advantage of, but at least this one was new for the garden, and a nice catch.
December could only feature on choice: December Moth. I caught several, of which this was perhaps the best looking.
So that’s it for another year, but the prospect of a new one starting soon is exciting … and means I can open a new folder in the Moth Recording Scheme named 2018. Roll on Jan 1st!