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

Monday, 17 October 2011

That's it for the trapping year then..

A cool clear evening at Pilmoor, dark before 1900, and very few moths.  Three traps out for about 3 hours with only 14 moths making the effort, nine of which were November Moth agg.. As my only trapping is spending time out at night at sites away from home, this sort of return does not warrant the effort.  

I suppose there is leaf-mines which might bring a bit of relief before the really grim months set in.  Roll on April!

I think the next few months entries are going to have to rely on photographic effort for content...unless of course there is an unseasonal heatwave and an influx of migrants....

Sunday, 9 October 2011

A funny old day.....

Up early to watch the rugby, and then a drive down to Elvington airfield just south-east of York, to attend the AGM of the Yorkshire branch of Butterfly Conservation.  The pleasant cross-country route, took in a Red Kite lumbering across the road near Ouseburn.  On entering the meeting room in one of the wartime nissen huts at Elvington, I was greeted rather loudly by Charlie Fletcher, the County recorder, saying that he was pleased to see me tickling genitalia these days…I am sure there was a pause in the hubbub of conversation in the room…..

After a number of interesting presentations later, there was the photographic competition, roughly 100 photos, most were extremely good, and I was very chuffed to be called out and pick up a bottle of wine for third place.  This was swiftly followed by one of my tickets coming up in the raffle and winning a tin of Quality Street for the kids.
Swallowtail, Corfu 2011

There was another meeting at the airfield, this one was an MG Owners club rally.  Great to see a handful of Midgets, MGB's and GT's, and some of the awful pretend newer MG's.  One thing that was missing was the MGBGT V8, probably the best car I have ever owned, and the only car I actually sold for a profit.  There was an ordinary GT there which was the same pale lemon yellow colour as my old car, recalling the colour of a Teddy Boys sock.  At one time, I owned the V8 and a Midget, and my Brother-in-law had a Midget,and when visited by Pog when he had his red MGB,we had a rally of our own outside my parents house.

The drive home was accompanied on the Radio with the Radio 2 highlight of the week, Johnnie Walker’s Sounds of the 70’s, and even better heavily featured Pink Floyd.  Brilliant.

A late afternoon request to sort the horse out, which usually means it’s hissing down, I actually managed to get to the yard, walk out and fed the boy, change his rug, and get back to the stable within an almost biblical parting of the stratocumulus, and managed to avoid the rain….Things may actually be looking up!

My other entries were as follows:
Eastern Bath White, Turkey 2009
Clouded Border, North Yorkshire 2011
Hungarian Glider,Hungary 2008

Wood White, Hungary 2008

Monday, 3 October 2011

The most effective trapping method

Having read a number of articles on trapping methods and different bulbs, I decided to look at my own data to see which is the most effective type of trap and bulb.  I added up the number of trap events and moths caught using each type of trap/bulb for the years 2009-2011, and came up with an average number of moths per trapping session for each trap.  The figures were remarkably consistent each year.

Trap method                               Events/total moths/average per event
Double Gladiator 2 x 22w actinic       28        660        23.6
40w actinic Robinson                       47      2562        54.5
160w MVBT over a sheet                 67       7593      113.3
125w MV Robinson                        104     13131      126.3

To give some background on the types of traps, the two actinic traps tended to be used more in the off peak seasons, so the numbers might be artificially lower, but even when used in peak the numbers are relatively similar.  

Double Gladiator - 2 circular 22w bulbs, a Paul Batty creation, and most useful when trapping in the garden. Used the least, and tended to be used off season which may reduce the number of moths caught.  Due to being a translucent plastic box, it tends to attract a fair number of moths to the outside walls.

40w actinic Robinson - an upright bulb within plastic vanes, on a home-made Robinson type trap.  This runs from a car battery, and again tended to be used off-peak when it did not warrant staying out overnight. so can be left unattended with a solar switch for the night.  Having a flat top, should not be used in heavy dew, as the moisture collects unwary moths.

I only bought the 160MVBT during 2009, a mercury vapour bulb with a tungsten element added, and used more frequently in 2010, and by 2011 it was used the same number of times as the 125w Robinson.  One of the advantages of the 160MVBT is the fact that it does not require a heavy ballast and control, and plugs directly into the power source, with the disadvantage that it runs even hotter than the 125MV. Of course,  when used suspended over a sheet it requires a flat sheltered location for the sheet.

The 125w Robinson is a standard ALS trap, used by many trappers around the country, and out-performed all of the other methods.  Having said that, the 160MVBT and sheet performs only 10% less effectively than the Robinson, but has the advantage of the catch being visible throughout the night, and would be more useful at a trapping event attended by others.
Photo by Ken Noble

For a proper scientific comparison, I should have 160MVBT on a Robinson and a 125MV suspended over a sheet, but I am happy with the results I achieve, but may consider experimenting further next year..

Although the effectiveness of the various traps are noted above, it should be noted that when a combination of the different methods are used, it can be quite noticeable the different species attracted to the traps.  The different wavelengths of ultraviolet light obviously affect which species are attracted.  I think the mixed combination of bulbs and traps allows greater flexibility to access different habitats at the same site, and also attracts a greater diversity of species.

All the equipment was purchased from Paul Batty http://www.pwbelg.clara.net/mercury/ or Jon Clifton of Anglian Lepidoptera Supplies http://www.angleps.com/.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Catch up, from five days trapping...

The warm weather continues, with the warmest end to September, and October day since records began, with temperatures hovering just under 30 degrees C.  So following on from the first night at Brimham, I trapped at my regular sites at Kilburn woods, Pilmoor and Silton Forest on successive nights, and then a speculative trap on the moorland at Dallowgill last night.

28 Sep - Kilburn woods - 54 moths of 19 species, the highlight being 11 Merveille du Jour, one of the jewels of the autumn traps.
Merveille du Jour

Pale November Moth, conf. by gen . det.
29 Sep - Pilmoor woods - 97 moths of 24 species, the highlights being site records of two Feathered Thorn, a Turnip, Black Rustic and a Large Wainscot. 
Feathered Thorn

Sallow, flavescens form
Large Wainscot
30 Sep - Silton Forest - 100 moths of 21 species, the highlights being singles of Feathered Thorn, Mottled Umber, Autumnal Rustic and Black Rustic, five Merveille du Jour and a Brindled Green. 
Mottled Umber
Brindled Green

1 Oct - Dallowgill Moor - six moths of six species.....although still mild, +18 still at 2300, there was a breeze which was difficult to avoid on the open moorland.  The Robinson trap which was sited in a small hollow actually had nothing in it after 3 hours, while the light over a sheet on the more open site, struggling to attract the meagre six moths.  However, they did include Pale Eggar and a very worn Haworth's Minor, the latter a moorland species I only caught up with in Ireland in August, and a new moth for the 10k square.
Pale Eggar

Haworth's Minor (not the best shot but it escaped shortly after!)