Birds, Leps, Observations & Generalities - the images and ramblings of Mark Skevington. Sometimes.

Thursday, 23 February 2012

The Mothing Season Begins

Despite others having some success up to now, I'd not had either the chance or inclination to run the garden traps during February until last night (22nd). I just put out the Synergetic combo, but whilst it was mild it was also a bit blowy and so I had low expectations. I was quite pleased therefore to find my first three garden macros for the year this morning .......

22W/18W Synergetic/CFL combo trap
3 of 3sp.

1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 1
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 1
2259 Dark Chestnut (Conistra ligula) 1

Today was almost too good to be true - warm sunshine in the afternoon then promising to cloud over at dusk. It would have been criminal to pass up the opportunity and I'd already decided to make a break from work, sort out some traps and head over to Charnwood Lodge. It was still a little breezy but the woodland part of the reserve is quite sheltered.

Part one of the plan was executed almost perfectly - I got home, got some gear out of the shed and, most importantly, gave one of the cheapo 2-strokes a look over. My gennies live in a shed. Best practice is to ensure that they are stored without any fuel. I opened the cap and, as expected, there was still some fuel in - that's because I never drain them and find abusing them to be much easier than looking after them. A quick effort with a socket set and I whipped out the spark plug, gave the contacts a quick rub, and shoved it back in. Fuel line on, choke on, switch on, pull cord a couple of times and it spluttered into action - faultless. All the traps worked and I loaded the car. A bit of dinner, and badgering Josh to hurry up as he wanted to come along (Alex wasn't bothered), and we were off albeit a little later than I'd hoped.

Part two of the plan was a total failure. We arrived at Charnwood Lodge just after dusk but still in plenty of time to get a few hours running. Coded padlock on the gate - I'm sure the very same one that has been there for years. Enter the code - nothing happened. Try again - locked. ARSE. Try brute force - failure. Check with Adrian - right code, no info on any change. I really must remember to add a couple of items to the mothing equipment list - WD40 and bolt-croppers.

Rather than just head home, I decided to try another nearby site - Ulverscroft NR. We arrived and the coded lock worked properly. At least we were into a secure site, though it was not ideal. This site is less sheltered and was a degree cooler. It was also pretty damp underfoot. We ran a 125W MV over a sheet, 2 x 125W MV traps and an 80W/20W actinic/CFL combo trap. The results were not quite as good as I'd hoped, though we just about got everything that may be expected this early in the season and it was good to be out catching and counting moths again.

Ulverscroft NR, Fox Covert
Lights operated 19:00 - 21:00
Partial cloud, breezy, 9°C constant
97 of 9sp.

0461 Ypsolopha ustella 3
1025 Tortricodes alternella 8
1044x Acleris ferrugana/notana 3
1663 March Moth (Alsophila aescularia) 22
1926 Pale Brindled Beauty (Phigalia pilosaria) 42
1932 Spring Usher (Agriopis leucophaearia) 6
1934 Dotted Border (Agriopis marginaria) 3
2256 Satellite (Eupsilia transversa) 5
2258 Chestnut (Conistra vaccinii) 5

Pots in the fridge and hopefully I'll get a chance to photograph some moths tomorrow afternoon after work.

The above catch was put into context when I got home. I'm running both the Synergetic and an MV, it is 10°C and not so breezy. I can't find a single moth yet.

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