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An offer I couldn't refuse...

Posted by on July 8, 2012 8:08 PM | 

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The text came through as dusk gathered last night, with a throw-down challenge not to be ignored from Tropical Thomason:


"Gentlemen, can I invite you to take part in a moth-off, usual rules apply. The winner will feature butt-naked on the front cover of Mothing Monthly, his privates hidden by a discreetly placed Death's Head Hawkmoth".


So at Dempsey Towers and the Hunt Hacienda, the traps were cranked up, as was the bulb in Thomason World.
Micro moths do not count in moth-offs, mainly cos they are too difficult and only Neill has the book.
I trapped from 2150 to 0215, with Neill burning the leccy all night - dunno what time Trops kept going to, but he missed the 1130 e-mail deadline of results this morning and so was disqualified (a pity as a text two hours past deadline showed he'd caught 34 sp with micros and a lychnis).
Fantastically flinty Buff Arches was my favourite catch of the night - I lurve the texture of these things, but Buff Tip (even if Mrs D says it looked like dried up orange peel) and Elephant Hawk were good too.

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I managed:
Swallow Tailed Moth (4)
Silver Y (1)
Brimstone (2)
Dark Arches (6)
Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing (3)
Large Yellow Underwing (15+)
Common Wainscot (2)
Treble Lines (4)
Broken Barred Carpet (2)
Common Emerald (1)
Peppered Moth (4)
Angle Shades (1)
Small Angle Shades (1)
Garden Dart (2)
Snout (1)
Mottled Beauty (1)
Dot Moth (1)
Elephant Hawkmoth (1)
Flame (2)
Lesser Broad Bordered Yellow Underwing (1)
Brightline Brown Eye (1)
Shuttle Shaped Dart (2)
Heart and Dart (11)
Buff Arches (1)
Riband Wave (1)
Heart and Club (1)
Common Rustic (1)
Setaceous Hebrew Character (5)
Ingrailed Clay (1)
Buff Tip (1)
Buff Ermine (1)
plus micros including Small Magpie, Mother of Pearl etc

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Beating me by a length though was Er Neill, but then he does have more patience than me, and his trap was running longer (2030 to 0830)...

Poplar Hawk
Brimstone
Magpie*
Light Emerald
Common Emerald
Buff Ermine
Bufftip
L Y Underwing
Marbled Beauty
Heart n Dart
Dot Moth
Mouse Moth
Silver Y
Spectacle
Garden Carpet
Riband Wave
Fanfoot
Common Rustic
Dark Arches
Miller
Burnished Brass
Heart n Club
Common Quaker
Common Carpet
Bright Line Brown Eye
Clay
Flame
Dark Spectacle
Marbled Minor
Grey Pug
Toadflax Pug
Bee Moth
Whitepoint
Cream Bordered Green Pea
Double Squarespot
Mother of Pearl*
Marbled Orchard Tortrix*
Acleris Notarna
Crambus Pratella*
Crambus Pascuella*
Chrysoteuchia Culmella*
*=Micro.

Ah well, to the victor goes the biggest leccy bill.
Shame none of us caught a Death's Head, but that's Mothing Monthly's problem, not mine.

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All good clean fun, with a fine range of species for the gardens of Southport.
Away from the bright lights, Phil Smith had a profitable day in broad daylight at Hightown on Friday, as he explains:
"There has been a big hatch of Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnets at Hightown where they are nectaring on Viper's Bugloss along the edges of tracks and the new cycleway.
Both species are in greater abundance than I have seen in decades.

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Five-spots are usually much rarer than Six-spot Burnets which haven't emerged yet.
Also, a spectacular show of Yellow-horned Poppy on the "shingle" beach and eight Common Sandpipers on the rising tide yesterday afternoon".

Phil's haul of Common Sands, and a Whimbrel and Siskin over Dempsey Towers suggests things are finally getting moving again.
Eyes to the skies everyone, eyes to the skies...

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4 Comments

Up at Ravenmeols last night I flushed a Cuckoo up from the floor only about five ft away I presume it was feeding, also a Grasshopper Warbler reeling away at Cabin Hill.

Nothing much to report bird-wise at the moment. I'm still encouraged by the numbers of Yellowhammer and Corn Buntings I'm hearing all over West Lancs. That's got to be good.
A lone Brimstone Moth turned up in our garden.. Very pretty but not as spectacular as the shots above.
Excellent write-up from the guys visiting Turkey as well: thanks.

It’s that fantastic time of year again, when young birds are emerging from their nests, and there are few quite as spectacular as the juvenile Marsh Harriers who have been taking their first flights at Leighton Moss.
It is hard to believe that there was only one pair of Marsh Harriers in the whole of the UK in 1971. An unfortunate combination of persecution and the draining of reedbeds for agriculture meant that they were almost wiped out. Thankfully, due to the hard work of the RSPB and other conservation organisations, they have made an astounding comeback across the UK in the last few decades, to now over 500 birds.
Marsh Harriers started breeding at Leighton Moss in 1987, and this year there are two males and five females on the reserve. It is not yet known how many young they will produce between them, but the first six, have certainly made themselves known.
You can visit and look for these fantastic birds of prey any day this summer at Leighton Moss, but every Wednesday for the rest of July you can join a special ‘Marsh Harrier Magic’ guided walk, taking place from 10.30am to 12.30pm. The cost is £5 per adult, discounted to £2.50 for RSPB members.
For more information on other wildlife you can see at Leighton Moss throughout the year, and other events, visit www.rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss

Butterfly Conservation President Sir David Attenborough has warned that butterflies could suffer serious population crashes this year following record-breaking wet weather.
Sir David is urging the UK public to take part in the world’s biggest butterfly survey – The Big Butterfly Count – to see how species have fared following several exceptionally damp months.
April, the wettest for a century, was followed by the dampest June on record which saw flooding across parts of the UK.
It is feared butterflies may have suffered poor breeding seasons as a result, which could lead to population crashes later this year or next spring.
Conservationists are drawing parallels with the wet summer of 2007 which resulted in widespread flooding across parts of the UK and saw butterfly numbers plummet.
Prolonged cold, wet weather delays emergence periods, reduces butterflies’ life span and hampers mating and egg laying leading to fewer offspring.
The results of this year’s Big Butterfly Count from July 14 to the end of August, will help assess the impact of the wet weather on our butterflies.
Sir David Attenborough explained: “The wet weather this spring and early summer has made life really hard for our butterflies and things could get worse unless conditions improve.
“Our butterflies were already struggling – almost three quarters of UK species have decreased in numbers during the last ten years. These falls are worrying because butterflies are important indicator species for our environment – their declines suggest a wider insect biodiversity crisis.
“You can play a vital role in the battle to secure their future. By taking part in the Big Butterfly Count you will be providing important information that could help turn their fortunes around.”
Last year, the public counted more than 320,000 butterflies. The data provided vital information – revealing that the average number of individual butterflies seen was down by 11% compared with 2010’s figures.
This year Butterfly Conservation wants to discover how garden favourite - the Small Tortoiseshell is faring after research revealed numbers were down across our countryside once again.
For more details go to www.bigbutterflycount.org

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