Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Mothing at Derwenlas 2012 - a modest year.

2012 will surely be remembered for some outstanding achievements and a plethora of gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals and awards. I recall my year also starting with an award, a virtual wooden spoon for Peters' January challenge when I managed 0 moths at Derwenlas. Things could only get better from then on which indeed they did. But first to recap briefly- whenever possible I run 2 Skinner Actinic traps, one at Derwenlas and the other at our home in Bodelwyddan, N Wales depending on my whereabouts.

Out of my 794 records for this year some 534 were at Derwenlas and my "total species caught" has risen to 335, an increase of 58 many of which are micros.

The more varied habitat at Derwenlas continues to attract a greater number and wider variety of species but I still have a few species only recorded at Bodelwyddan.

The Juniper Webber moth was found again this year but in lower numbers than 2011 despite my planting a fresh ornamental Juniper in the rockery bed to supplement their habitat. And the colony of Meal Moths that inhabited my compost bin in 2011 seem to have deserted me this year. But the Feathered Ranunculus was again caught this Autumn.

Meanwhile at Derwenlas despite some atrocious "Summer" weather a nice variety of moths was recorded the more notable including a Brussels Lace, Wormwood Pug, Ling Pug and Clouded Magpie. My family of Fox Moths I raised and released in 2011 obviously had no homing instincts whatsoever and avoided my trap this year.

My two most outstanding moth memories of 2012 happened to occur neither at Derwenlas or Bodelwyddan. We were fortunate to have a 6 week holiday in the Outer Hebrides enjoying summer drought conditions while the rest of the UK drowned. Amongst the wildlife spectacles of Sea Eagles, Golden Eagles, Stilts, Otters and many more we were walking on the Isle of Lewis in the heather moorland and I came across at least 50 Magpie Moths resting on the heather in full sunshine. To quote Waring & Townsend "In the Hebrides large numbers fly up from roosting in heathers."
And finally whilst travelling from Derwenlas to N Wales on one occasion in November we stopped at Rhug Estates near Corwen. While exercising the dog in the car park I came across a floodlit sign board and in full daylight resting on the adjacent low wall were at least 20 moths including December Moths, Sprawler,Green Brindled Crescent, Mottled and Scarce Umber and Redline Quaker. A real unexpected bonus.

And so it remains to wish my fellow "mothers" a warmer drier Summer season and some record catches. But so far January looks as though I might be awarding myself the virtual wooden spoon again!

All the best


1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful collection of memories from 2012. I particularly like the unexpected and the find on the low wall at Corwen and the Magpie Moths in the Outer Hebrides must have both been a real thrill.