Just a quick update with the results of the moth trap last night. There were 15 moths of 11 species, I don’t know if this is a good or bad result considering the factors*, but I am happy that there were any at all! As it looked like it was only going to be me at the “event” today I opted to stay at home and sort/ID them with a coffee, rather than trek up to UWE. Below are the pictures of them; there was one further micro moth that was sadly lost before I could photograph/ID it.

*Factors include: Weather, Season, Type of mothtrap (heath) and bulb (no idea), No. of egg cartons inside (i.e. I don’t know if any escaped as I didnt have many egg boxes), Location of moth trap in garden (central), Lack of general biodiversity in the area (terraced Georgian property within a concrete jungle and tiny garden with lack of biodiversity), Moon (new moon), and Predators (cats and bats).

[Update: With thanks to Robert Homan, County Moth Recorder for East Glousetershire, for further identifications via Twitter]

Interestingly, looking at the Moth Recorders Handbook sent to me in pdf. form when I signed up for the challenge, in the last 35 years some of these species have been in measurable decline:

Tyria jacobaeae – cinnabar – 83% decline
Xantherhoe fluctuata – garden carpet – 69% decline
Agrotis exclamationis – heart and dart – 67% decline

Useful things I found to help with identifications:

This book is a godsend, but I really do need to get the micro moth field guide as well as this one only includes macro moths:

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology app called “What’s Flying Tonight” is a pretty useful tool, identifying your region and comparing that with species that are likely to be there and at that time. It only includes up to 100 species at a time, so tends to focus on more popular species and again, macro moths.

The Garden Moth Scheme help guides are useful too, I used this one this morning. I also used the iNaturalist app which is a great resource for recording, particularly because the AI makes a guess at the species (warning: it is not always accurate!) and you can compare this guess against your photograph, but also because other people (many of whom are experts) can look at it and either agree or suggest an alternative identification. The Field Studies Council also have a pretty useful Day Flying Moths Identification Guide, which is lightweight and easy to take with you when out and about.

I’ve also found various Facebook groups useful when looking for an ID. The one I used this morning was Butterflies & Moths of Great Britain & Ireland, but there are many equally good groups on Facebook that you can join for identification. There is also an extensive list of books, websites, study groups, journals etc. in the Moth Recorders Handbook.

Now all that’s left for me to do is officially submit these records to the County Moth Recorder!

Published by StudentEcologistBristol

I'm a mature student studying Wildlife Ecology and Conservation Science BSc (Hons) at the University of the West of England.

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