Sunday 19 June 2022

How It's Going - Part 2

It went something like this...

Ooh, that looks well-marked and interesting, and possibly doable...think I'll pot it up.

I knew it was a plume moth, but beyond I certainly didn't suspect that it might be a rare migrant, originating in southern Europe or North Africa. This morning I received confirmation that my pics were sufficient to see our Scarce Light Plume accepted as a bona fide Dorset record. Which was gratifying, because we released it last night, so there was no specimen available for inspection.

Scarce Light Plume (Oxyptilus laetus)

I feel like a beginner birder who has just shown his expert buddy some photos of the 'weird grey and orange Kestrel' that was perched on a fence post down the road yesterday afternoon, not quite believing how closely it matched the 'vagrant...5-10 records annually' female Red-footed Falcon in the Collins Guide. Yes, I get the distinct feeling that veteran moth recorders would have gone a bit weak-kneed had they spied this tiny scrap of a moth in their trap. In my ignorance I felt no such excitement.

And it struck me what a strong link there is between ignorance and lack of appreciation. Which possibly explains why mankind in general treats the natural world so badly...

Anyway, rather than head off down that unhappy road, a short addendum to yesterday's post, which closed with a reference to moth trapping at Mapperton.

It was rather a jaw-dropping experience to see a bunch of Robinson traps absolutely heaving with moths. And truly humbling to watch as they were inspected and identified with barely a reference to any literature, micros and all...

Jack Oughton and Chris Fox in action

I later learned that the species tally was 163. One hundred and sixty-three! Five of them were nationally scarce, of which I definitely saw two...

Cloaked Carpet

Bright Neb (Argolamprotes micella)

That micro was no more than 6-7mm long, but look at those twin 'horns' and the purple-tinted shoulder pads. My camera doesn't do it justice, but it was pretty impressive.

Bordered Straw is a regular immigrant species which I have seen on Twitter many times, so it was nice to see one in the flesh at last...

Bordered Straw 'warming up' on my grubby trousers.

This morning I led a walk at Mapperton. Wading through the long grass of species-rich meadows, disturbing countless unidentified invertebrates en route to the fine display of Common Spotted Orchids, it was easy to see why Friday night's moth traps were bulging in such healthy fashion. Man's heavy hand has obliterated so much biodiversity, but not quite everywhere...


  1. Great stuff, keep it up.
    Nationally, I think it's time to ditch the beavers and eagles and concentrate on the insects. I walked around several fields yesterday and saw one white butterfly and have yet to see any signs of tortoiseshell or peacock caterpillars that were so prolific just a couple of years ago.

    1. There are dead fields here too, unfortunately. But there are many local spots where things are quite the opposite. It helps me feel that all is not lost just yet.

  2. Location, location, location is the key with moths and birds. Being on the south coast Gav you have about 6 lifers for me in your photos alone! ( I have a list of around 700 odd with 500+ in my garden)...Keep at it, its great and it will surprise you for years to come.

    1. Agreed, I am fortunate to live in an area with heaps of potential. In the last couple of days I have learned that some previously rare migrant moths apparently now breed nearby.
      I am loving it Stew, so much to learn.
      Wish I was a lot younger!