Monday, 3 August 2020

Moth Night Mk 2

After the successful mothing evening the weekend before, Adam, Theo and I decided to camp out again the following Friday evening on the Northamptonshire side of the reservoir. It was a beautiful warm July evening but slightly windy, so we erected the nets but furled them ready for the morning. I set up the mammal traps along one of the rides and in the wood whilst Theo and Adam placed the moth traps in the field opposite the gate and close to the woodland as it seemed to be an ideal sheltered site that would attract woodland moth species.
Theo’s moth trap is a homemade Robinson trap which uses a garden trug with 2 pieces of perspex made to fit as the transparent lid and a 12in beer funnel for the moths to enter the trap. This then has a stand which rests in the funnel made from some spare perspex as the vanes and some thin copper to hold the vanes and bulb fitting together. It uses a 160w Self-Ballasted MV bulb so no need for an additional choke, these bulbs are very sensitive to water so must not get wet and a size 8 Cafetiere cup fits over it perfectly!

A night time walk with moth nets and a bat detector started our recording. Common Pipestrelle, Noctule / Leislers and Myotis spp were identified with the bat detector. The following morning a noctule bat was seen by the rest of the ringing team on arrival at the reservoir at 4.30am.
With 8 ringers on site we had enough people to form three teams. The mothing group stayed near the rail track, Peter, David and Stuart were stationed at the bench and Dawn and Mick at the Point.
For the next 6 hours Adam, Theo and I had a hectic time extracting and ringing birds, identifying moths and checking the small mammals traps; all of which were productive.
463 moths of 101 species were recorded.

 The combined bird ringing for the three teams totalled at 108 new and 85 retraps. Of note were a magpie which was a ringing tick for me and a cute 1J Sedge Warbler for Dawn.

The mammal traps caught 4 Bank voles, 3 Wood mice and a Common shrew that, unknown to me, found its way up the sleeve of my fleece and reappeared as I was trying to extract a blackbird from the nets. Wildlife recording is full of surprises.
Kate M

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