Sunday, 1 January 2017

Moth Review of the Year: Part 6: December 2016

The final chapter in my review of the moths trapped in 2016. In total 512 species of 9760 moths had been recorded by the end of November. My initial target at the beginning of the year was to find 500 species and record in excess of 10,000 moths.
December started reasonably well, improved during the mid period and concluded with many nights of minus temperatures. However, the 10,000 moth was taken 08.xii.16, a winter moth to actinic light on the local golf course footpath.
Blastobasis lacticolella

Chestnut

Any of these were the 10,000 moth for the year. 

During this period I set the Heath trap at a variety of sites whilst visiting others with head torch and net. The best time was invariably at dusk, when winter moth were on the wing in considerable numbers and then, about an hour after dark, I found it worthwhile checking rosehips and guelder rose berries where Satellite, Chestnuts and an occasional Brick could be found feeding.
On the 2nd a Caloptilia rufipennella came to the actinic trap in Millennium Wood, where I also recorded 64 Winter moth and a Satellite. A visit to several sites on the 6th gave up winter moths and satellites as well as a Chestnut at Pigs Green, whilst on the 8th, 2 Dark chestnuts were taken along Hoecroft Lane.
Winter moth numbers were quite outstanding, with 26 on the 7th, 105 from Millennium Wood on the 9th, 90 from Ash Valley Golf Course on the 13th, 82 from Millennium Wood on the 16th, 36 from Valley Fields (18th) 73 at Millennium Wood (21st) and 79 from the same venue on the 31st.
Only unusual records for the month, along with C. rufipennella was a Blastobasis lacticolella taken to headtorch in Millennium Wood on the 9th and a pleasing record, new for the parish of Ypsolopha ustella that came to the actinic trap set at Pig's Green on the 21st.
On New Year's Eve I set the actinic 15W at Alder Wood and then spent several hours visiting many of the sites I had trapped at over the year. The highlight was coming across a newly born muntjac in Suffyldes Wood where I also took 3 winter moth. Between 4.30 and 7.00pm I visited Millennium Wood, Hadham Hall, Suffyldes Wood, Westland Green, Pig's Green, Chapel Lane and the golf course before returning to empty the trap. Here I found a mottled umber (100th species for Alder Wood) and 14 winter moth either on or in the trap. In total, 130 moths were recorded: 122 Winter moth, 5 Satellite and 3 Mottled umber.
Sprawler

Mottled Umber

Nomophila noctuella

The year ended with a total of 514 species and a record for me of 11,130 moths recorded.


TABLE OF TRAPPING RECORDS:
Site
Tetrad
Times trapped
Species count
New for parish records
Average species per visit
Garden
TL42F
352
382
32
1.08
Westland Green
TL42G
19
98
3
5.15
Chapel Lane
TL42F
18
81
2
4.50
Millennium Wood
TL42K
37
185
10
5.00
Suffyldes Wood
TL42F
24
115
4
4.79
Valley Fields
TL42G
15
88
1
5.86
Pig’s Green
TL42F
18
100
8
5.55
Brick Kiln Hill
TL42F
16
81
0
5.06
Alder Wood
TL42F
15
100
6
6.66
Ash Valley Golf Course
TL42F
11
64
10
5.81
Hoecroft Lane
TL42F
16
72
4
4.50
Little Hadham Place
TL42G
10
65
1
6.5
Hadham Hall
TL42L
8
84
5
9.33
East Wood
TL42Q
2
14
0
7.00

The above results were not part of a scientific study, just random placement whilst I did endeavour to trap each site more than 10 times. Hadham Hall stands out as the "best" site by having an average species count per session of 9.33. Here, permission was not granted to trap at this private site until June, so all visits were during the peak period for numbers. East Wood was visited only twice, once to find Small yellow underwing and then a leaf mining visit in November. 
However, of particular interest is the closeness of most of the averages with, for example, Hoecroft Lane and Suffyldes Wood. These 2 sites are 400 yards apart and made up of neglected hornbeam, ash and hazel.On many dead trees are bramble and ivy and so it can be expected that tallies would be similar. Alder Wood, as well as alder, contains a small conifer plantation and well established beech and is right next to part of Ash Valley GC where D. petrivella and D. sequana were netted during day time sessions. Also, the best site for Marbled white.
The site chosen at Hadham Hall is next to a pond whilst Millennium Wood is a 16 year old plantation of oak, ash, cherry, hazel, dogwood, hornbeam and guelder rose. I am presently volunteer manager of this 3.75 acre site which is used for leisure by the locals and also by the local primary school for their Forest School Initiative. Superb to see the children of all ages using the wood every Wednesday afternoon.

2017 Targets.
In 2017 I am having a change of philosophy and not just targeting large numbers. I have identified 7 or 8 specific sites within the parish that hold a paricular plant or tree that may offer a chance to take rarer moths within Little Hadham. One site selected has a good stand of black poplar whilst another has gorse and a small stand of broom. Letters have been written to the land owners seeking permission to run the Actinic trap and hopefully these requests will be looked upon favourably. I shall continue to trap at Hadham Hall and Millennium Wood but will be looking to achieve 700 species within the parish by the end of the year. The parish total presently stands at 674 species. 
The first big target species will be sloe carpet. Yet to be recorded in Herts but with several sites holding plenty of blackthorn it will be worth trying for. This will require the trap to be set right inside the stand of trees and should also give up good numbers of water carpet. Just need to wait for the blossom.

Finally, wishing all readers and very Happy New Year and I wish you the very best of mothing in 2017.
Satellite

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This is me

This is me
At the end of another Norfolk Coastal footpath walk. 47 miles, 3 days 99 species of bird

Caley Wood view

Caley Wood view
sunshine through the canopy 29.05.08

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007

A walk along the Warta Valley, Poznan, Poland. Feb 2007
Best birds on this walk: black and middle spotted woodpecker and short toed treecreeper

About Me

My photo
A primary school teacher for 30 years, I retired from teaching in July 2009 to set up my own science enhancement and communication company. The Primary Works offers science clubs, workshops and staged science shows nationwide. I have always been interested in bird watching since my early years. Apparently my first tick was after inquiring about a chaffinch and then receiving the Observer book of birds. By the age of 9 I had moved on to Tory Peterson's collins guide and was now involved on YOC birding holidays to Northumbria, Essex coast, Slimbridge and Yorkshire. My twitching rule is that I will willingly travel 1km for each gram the bird weighs. However, I have had many rarities just by being in the right place. I have travelled widely throughout Europe and also visited Australia and Sri Lanka. Further European destinations are planned and a bigger trip to The Crimea was planned for 2014 but now not possible. so 2014: Sri Lanka in January, Poland in April, Madeira in June and The Camargue in July. So far 2015 has been Sri Lanka in Jan, Poland in Feb, Sri Lanka in April and The Camargue coming up in 1st week of September.

Grey heron

Grey heron
Over the allotment 28.09.08

Southern Hawker

Southern Hawker
Ridge footpath 27.08.08

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)

Juvenile green woodpecker (17.08.08)
Note the stripes, denoting a bird fledged this year.

common blue

common blue
Ash Valley G.C. 15.08.08

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)

Indian balsam (impatiens glandulifera)
River Ash

azure damselfly

azure damselfly
River Ash 28.07.08

marbled white

marbled white
Discovered at Westland Green 22.07.08

ruddy darter

ruddy darter
Bush Wood 21.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08

honeysuckle 19.07.08
growing in hedgerow in Chapel Lane

cinnabar moth caterpillar

cinnabar moth caterpillar
Photographed on ragwort 19.07.08

Bittersweet

Bittersweet
Study of petals 11.06.08

male yellowhammer

male yellowhammer
08.06.08

common blue butterfly

common blue butterfly
06.06.08

River Ash

River Ash
looking south from the bridge at Hadham Ford

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)

Common poppy (papaver rhoeas)
in rape field 29.05.08

Caley Wood sunshine

Caley Wood sunshine
29.05.08

Millenium Wood fox

Millenium Wood fox
24.05.08

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)

common comfrey (symphytum officinale)
06.05.08 banks of the River Ash

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)

Garlic Mustard or Jack by the Hedge,(Alliara petiolata)
flowers, leaves and fruit edible . Good in salad and pesto

April showers

April showers
Double rainbow 30.04.08

Caley Wood bluebells

Caley Wood bluebells
22.04.08

Yellow Archangel

Yellow Archangel
Chapel Lane (20.04.08)

sunlight 16.04.08

sunlight 16.04.08
looking south west from Bush Wood

snowy buds

snowy buds
06.04.08 in Bush Wood

Looking north west

Looking north west
05.04.08 evening shower approaching

Back Garden

Back Garden
Easter Sunday (23.03.08)

Brick Kiln Hill

Brick Kiln Hill
Looking east (23.03.08)

No play today

No play today
The 2nd hole at Ash Valley golf course

Teasel head

Teasel head
Bush Wood (21.03.08)

Reflections

Reflections
daffodils at Bush Wood pond (21.03.08)

Swollen River Ash

Swollen River Ash
The river at the bottom of Winding Hill 16.03.08

Daybreak over the chapel

Daybreak over the chapel
Thursday 13th March

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)

Wild daffodils (narcissus pseudonarcissus)
growing in Bush Wood

January snowdrops

January snowdrops
Banks of River Ash, north of Much Hadham

Good Moon

Good Moon
From garden 24.01.08

Village Green

Village Green
Looking east towards Acremore Street

Looking south before Hadham Ford

Looking south before Hadham Ford
rare January blue sky

Useful sites

The following are some useful websites that may interest readers of this blog.
Firstly, Bishop's Stortford Natural History Society http://bsnhs.webplus.net/

Fellow birder, Gary Whelan's blog. Gives reports from our trips out together plus reports from his trips abroad. http://hairybirders.blogspot.co.uk
http://www.hertsbirdclub.org.uk/ The official herts bird club website. Frequently updated, listing bird sightings around the county. Offers links to many other websites. Both of these sites also offer links to yahoo discussion groups.
http://www.birdforum.net/ An international site. You can enter as a guest but become a member( free) to post comments, bird sightings and just about anything to do with wild birds. Good news updates, classified section for binoculars, cameras etc.
http://www.guidedbirdwatching.com/ A new site set up where you can contact people worldwide who will help you find good birds in their country. UK section being set up presently.
http://www.britainsbirder.co.uk/
Fellow birders blog. Strtford resident, Graeme Smith regulary birds the area south of Stortford as well as around Spellbrook and the River Stort from Spellbrook to Twyford Locks. Some superb bird photography: Graeme uses a digital camera attached to his powerful telescope to get detailled images of the birds he sees. Well worth a browse.
Two local sites that may be of interest can be found at
http://www.thehadhams.com/ www.thepelhams.net/content/section/12/139/

South Easterly walk

South Easterly walk
black, normal, red extended walk

South Westerly route.

South Westerly route.
Black usual, red extended

North Easterly walk

North Easterly walk
black short, walk. Red, extended

North West Patch

North West Patch
black route regular. Red route the extended wander