Thursday, 31 December 2015

Final moth of the year

Ring out the old! And this year we can bid farewell to 2015 with an actual moth rather than reminiscences of past triumphs or disasters in the trapping field. There seemed to be nothing in the eggboxes when I picked them out one by one after shining the lamp throughout yet another of this December's exceptionally mild nights; but as I put them back again, I spotted this Pale Brindled Beauty asleep on a side panel (above).

On a different eggbox, wings more orderly

It is a lovely moth and this one is playing the calendar by the book - the Moth Bible suggests that although its official time on the wing is January to March, examples may sometimes be found in late December. Having said that, this year has notoriously rewritten the rules in terms of climate and you may recall that a startlingly battered Pale Brindled Beauty visited me on the night of December 7/8th. Nothing is surprising in current circumstances which have daffodils about to bloom in the garden and primroses, cowslips, roses and even geraniums all flowering happily away.

Safely back outside

I would normally put the trap away for a month or so now, but the weather and Nature's response are so intriguing that I plan to carry on for a while. Rain permitting. As you will doubtless have read and seen, the UK is suffering the misery of widespread flooding. We have been spared up to now, but it only needs the Atlantic storms to track a little further south for our defences to be out to the test.

Like compatriots further north, there is little we will be able to do if the rainfall is as far above average as they have experienced. But I do have confidence in one piece of protection. The deceptively simple rainshield on my Robinson Trap (famously designed by Mrs as well as Mr Robinson and I bet she was responsible for the shield, women being generally so practical) is extraordinarily efficient. The picture below shows how little water seeped into the trap after a night of steady rain last week.

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