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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

A weekend away down south....part one

Friday afternoon, leaving a sun-bathed Yorkshire, the clouds closed in as we headed south.  Dropping Raine off in Bristol to see her folks, and then on to Cerne Abbas for Nat to stay with friends there.  As we entered Dorset the fog and drizzle set in....what a welcome.
Having dropped Nat off, the omens did not look good for trapping, but decided on Hardy's Monument, where I set up the MV with a rain shield in a sheltered area just down from the monument.  A rain shower at 2300, followed by breezy fog, but it was quickly eveident that there were quite a lot of moths about.
Following a night being woken by HM's Contabulary twice, I waited till dawn to check the trap.  On approaching the trap, there were sporadic buzzes of activity as the moths started flying around, before settling again.  Opening the trap up it was quickly obvious that four species were predominent: the bully-boy Large Yellow Underwing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, and lesser numbers of the more sedate Vine's Rustic and Flame Shoulder.
I ended up counting around 930 moths of just 34 species, with those of interest were Pine Hawkmoth, eight Dark Swordgrass, and 21 White-point. 
With all the thrashing about, there was a brown dusty layer in the trap, and all the micros and hoverflies which were seen during the night were disturbed, with just five micros and one hoverfly left in the trap. 

I was amazed to hear a Nightjar churring in the gloom at 0500 in the morning, not the first I heard there, but just rather unexpected to hear so late in the breeding season.

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