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Monday, 31 December 2012

2012 and all that...

Far too long since the last post, although to be fair I have been rather unwell for five weeks and just not had the energy or inclination to do anything demanding on the computer let alone go out and do some natural history watching!

So, 2012, a year of ups and downs at best, and continues the run of cloudy and often unsettled weather of the last six years, due to the more southerly path of the jetstream.  Presumably as a direct result of the shrinking polar icecaps and unlikely to reverse anytime soon, and rather depressingly a portender of summers to come.

On the ornithological front, probably the worst in 40 years of active birdwatching.  Other than the occasional visit to Nosterfield, watching the gulls at Allerton and a brief few days in Ireland, the impetus to get out and about has been further dulled by the modern birding scene and obsession with rarities, and opinionated mediocrity.  The few highlights were the decent run of white-winged gulls in the spring, fantastic regular views of Red Kite, dawn-choruses of waking marshland birds at Staveley, some decent seabirds and wonderful Choughs on the Irish west coast and the only BB rarity of the year, a Semi-P on a beach in Ireland.  Hardly a vintage year.
Red Kite
A productive year on the moth front with just under 10,000 identified of at least 435 species, despite coverage during the year being very patchy.  No trapping was attempted during the very wet April into mid May, mid August to early September, and thereafter were just single visits to Pilmoor in mid-October and November.  The range of sites was much more restricted this year, concentrating effort on the sites closer to home, mainly Pilmoor and Sessay area and Staveley; there were no visits to my usual sites on the North Yorkshire moors or visiting under-recorded 10km squares around the county.  With 36 nights out against 45 in 2011, the reduced number of sites and the gaps in coverage, makes the totals achieved rather more respectable.  There were five macro-moths which were new to me, and about 35 new micros, their identification assisted greatly with the new book by Sterling and Parsons, and the status and distribution of moths in the county made available for the first time on the Yorkshire Moths website. Referring to the website, which currently is up-to-date to end of 2011, I have tentatively applied some figures to my rarer catches.

481 Epermenia falciformis 1st VC62
849 Syncopacma cinctella 2nd VC64 and 3rd Yorkshire
854  Anacampsis blattariella 5th VC62
878  Batrachedra praeangusta 5th VC62
930  Gynnidomorpha alismana 1st VC64 and 6th Yorkshire
968  Cochylis nana 3rd and 4th VC62
1086  Hedya salisella 4th and 5th VC62 (the 3rd was mine too)
1089  Apotomis semifasciana 4th to 8th VC62 (all the others are mine)
1104  Endothenia quadrimaculana 5th to 8th VC64
1106  Lobesia reliquana 1st and 2nd VC62 and 7/8th Yorkshire
1123 Ancylis laetana 3rd to 7th VC62 (all of which are mine, one other site in Yorkshire)
1132  Epinotia subocellana 2nd VC62
1135  Epinotia demarniana 6th to 12th VC62 (all VC62 records mine from 1 area and confirmed)
1137  Epinotia tetraquetrana 3rd VC62 and 4th VC64
1217  Eucocosmomorpha albersana 2nd Yorkshire record since 1987, the 1st was mine in 2011, a handful
of older records
1225  Pammene obscurana 2nd VC62 and 5th Yorkshire (I had 1st VC62 too)
1348  Parapoynx stratiotata 2nd VC64
1473  Ephestia elutella 1st VC65 and 12th Yorkshire
1517  Adaina microdactyla 5th VC64
1523  Oidaematophorus lithodactyla 3rd VC64

Once all of the 2012 records are included and published in the Yorkshire database some of these figures may have to be updated, but it is certainly an indication of the quality of the years trapping.

My moth of the year?  Well, it has to be this one, a Bordered Pug at Staveley, not particularly rare but a stunning pug all the same.  This was followed very closely by the remarkable sight of six Lunar Thorns together at Brimham, my only previous ones being a single at Brimham and one in my Dorset garden.

Bordered Pug
What for 2013?  Other than the pressing requirement to achieve a more stable economic base for the family, I look forward to concentrating my efforts locally again, with perhaps also some selective effort on the southern fringes of the NY Moors, and looking at other orders to broaden my interests.