Monday, 1 August 2022

Dusty Bins

My camera bag is the home of two things: my camera and my bins. Just lately, only one of those things has been seeing any action. Every time the flap opens, my bins must be thinking, 'Today? Is it today...?' only to see that poxy, smug Nikon lifted out yet again.

So, in the spirit of fairness I have promised my bins an outing tomorrow. So there may be bird stuff on here presently.

In the meantime...

I have just completed an almost unbroken month of garden moth-trapping (one night off, and another in Lyme Regis) and thought it might be interesting to crunch some numbers. Here they are...

  • Mean catch rate: 76 moths of 41 species (from 29 nights)
  • Maxima: 179 moths / 81 spp
  • Minima: 26 moths / 15 spp

Compared with many stats I read on Twitter and elsewhere, this is very small potatoes. It will do me though, and is providing more than enough head-scratchery. And there have been a few scarcities to sweeten the deal. It has been a great way to dip my toes into the water. Of course, said 'water' is actually a bottomless lagoon of deceptive tranquility which has claimed many a former birder's soul, so I am trying to keep a cautious eye on my current depth. For example, a book on micro-moth identification was recently recommended to me, and the haste with which I opened my wallet suggests I am at least up to my ankles already. Should I worry?

Don't be misled by the title. This terrific volume is perfectly at home in Dorset.

There have been no fireworks over the last few days, but still there has not been a single night without at least one new species added to the tally...

Our third Currant Pug, and with a forewing length of slightly less than 9mm (9-11 typical, according to the field guide) a small one too.

Copper Underwing - a new species for us.

A delightful caramel toffee thing, our first Dusky Sallow.

Another caramel toffee, but much, much smaller. Cochylimorpha straminea, also new.

Another new one: Flounced Rustic. If you can see it, that is...

The same Flounced Rustic, uncloaked.*

I took that second shot of the Flounced Rustic for a specific reason. This moth was in last night's catch, and another garden first. I identified it the old-fashioned way, by laboriously thumbing through the field guide plates for a match. To be frank, there are loads of moths that look vaguely similar to this, but Flounced Rustic seemed the best fit. However, this afternoon I thought I should double check. One way to do that is to take a clear photo and run it through the Obsidentify app. So I did...

That'll do.

One slightly unanticipated aspect of moth-trapping is the non-lepidopteral by-catch. Last night there was this interesting creature...

Oedemera femoralis - female

This beetle is a close relative of the common, metallic-green Swollen-thighed Beetle (Oedemera nobilis) but is apparently quite scarce and, unlike the green job, entirely nocturnal. So moth-trapping is a great way to see one. Win-win.

Finally, a tiny bit of bird stuff...

I needed help to identify this triple call, but it is actually a Tree Pipit, and flew over at 01:43 on Saturday morning. I definitely would not have predicted a nocmig Tree Pipit in July. But there you go...

* the first, and probably last, Trekkie reference in NQS


  1. I put an aquatic plant in Obsidentify today. It said it was a frog, a toad and wait - a Barn Owl.

    1. I've not tried it with plants, but with macro-moths (even some quite worn ones) it has been extremely accurate. Micros are more hit and miss, but I wonder if that is down to the lack of enough reference material? As far as I'm concerned, it has been an indispensable tool. Many times, when I've been hopelessly lost, it has at least put me on the right track.