Welcome to my world..............

Sunday, 17 April 2011

A great face for radio......

It has been a busy 24 hours, with a brief excursion up north to the fabulous Northumberland coast, and settled myself down among the dunes and managed to find the drake Black Scoter among the Common Scoter.  It was surprisingly easy to pick out with what look like a ludicrous orangey-yellow plastic bill stuck on the front.  It was a pleasure to find it and watch it on my own without the nearby hordes.  The fabulous drake Eider and a couple of amorous Puffins were a delight to see too.
Bamburgh Castle
Back to last night, which was the culmination of several months of emails between me and Iain Chambers, a BBC Radio 4 producer.  As long ago as November, Iain had made contact through the Dorset Moths website, wanting to get in touch with local moth’ers for a programme on moths.  I explained although I ran the Dorset website, I actually lived in Yorkshire, but still arranged several contacts for him to follow up down south.  Thinking that was the end of it, subsequently, he mentioned that the presenter was Martin Wainwright who lives in Leeds, and was interested in recording a mothing session here in Yorkshire.  They were due to do a recording at Shandy Hall in Coxwold, and so I suggested a trapping session nearby in Kilburn woods.  The date set to do this was 16th April, which is still early in the season, and in plumping for one date was fraught with the dangers of poor weather on the night.  I enlisted the very welcome help of Charlie Fletcher, Jill Warwick and Diane Bowes to make it a joint effort, and to give more recording opportunities for the producer and presenter.

So, with fingers crossed, last night came around, and at least it was going to be dry and calm, if rather chilly and cloudless with a big moon.  We all met at the rendezvous point as planned, although Diane was not able to join us till the morning with her partner Ian, and was ably substituted by Charlie’s wife Joy.  Following brief introductions, three groups of traps set in different 1km squares in the woodland, was accompanied by a number of recorded conversations, prompted with ease by Martin.  Time was running a bit tight to get to the Forresters Arms by 2100, and having agreed to regroup at 0700, the four moth’ers made it to get something to eat with 30 seconds to spare!  Some excellent beef and ale pie and a welcome pint followed, and then I bid goodnight to the others, as I agreed to do the night-watchmen shift.
Byland Abbey
The temperature did indeed drop overnight, with down to +6 around 2300, +4 at 0200 and just +3 at dawn.  However, the lightening sky revealed a beautiful morning, and we re-assembled again at 0700 as arranged.  The number of moths reflected the cool conditions, but was sufficient in number and variety to be interesting and not overwhelming.  On top of that, Scarce Prominent was new for the other three moth'ers present, and a Brindled Beauty was so for Diane and Jill.  I managed several new 10k square records for me, and I think we were all very pleased with the results.  
Brindled Beauty
There were a number of more recorded conversations, and as if the successful mission accomplished was not enough, we were then treated to a freshly cooked bacon buttie and a cup of coffee from Diane, Ian and Jill, to round off a perfect night.
The programme is due to be broadcast on Radio 4 on Friday 6th May, at 1100.

The combined list from the three 1km sites were as follows:
0006 Eriocrania subpurpurella  2
0663 Diurnea fagella  1
1747 Streamer 1
1750 Water Carpet 5
1852 Brindled Pug  11
1881 Early Tooth-striped  13
1902 Brown Silver-line  6
1919 Purple Thorn  3
1927 Brindled Beauty  1
1947 Engrailed  9
1951 Grey Birch  1
2006 Lesser Swallow Prominent  1
2010 Scarce Prominent  5
2015 Lunar Marbled Brown  2
2078 Least Black Arches  1
2139 Red Chestnut  2
2140 White-marked  10
2179 Pine Beauty  1
2187 Common Quaker  31
2188 Clouded Drab  23
2189 Twin-spotted Quaker  19
2190 Hebrew Character  25
2236 Pale Pinion  1
2258 Chestnut  3


  1. Hi Terry!

    Just to say a very big THANK YOU for a marvellous evening and morning at Kilburn. Although I'm essentially a home-trapper, it was great to see such a major exercise and to meet your enthusiastic self and all your cheerful and knowledgeable pals.

    How I wish I could identify moths so skilfully. I am still struggling over last night's pugs and a lovely, delicate creamy thing which I think we also got at Kilburn.

    I'm also greatly awestruck, as you know, that you were prepared to overnight in the deep dark wood.

    Much enjoying your blog too, and I will add it to my links.

    All warm wishes and thanks again


  2. Well done chaps,
    cant wait to hear the piece!
    Cheers G.F.

  3. Nice blog mate. Several ticks for me there.