|Like 1995, the spring of 1996 was very discouraging and few of us had
many worthwhile records by the end of May. However, heralded by the mass
invasion of Painted Ladies and Silver Y's at the beginning of June, things
began to look up and records began to accumulate more rapidly than in any
of the last three years. If things had not tailed off again in the autumn
it would have been an even better year. As it was we had 141 new records
which was more than in any other year since 1992; so much for the "law of
diminishing returns" ! Perhaps this shows that we have been working harder
and more systematically and that we have some new and very active recorders,
but there is clear evidence that several species are extending their range
and turning up for the first time in light-traps that have been run regularly
for many years.
We did record two species new to the County and one of these was the rare immigrant, the Ni Moth, which was taken on Hilbre Island (SJ18) on the 21st June 1996 by Gavin Broad. One wonders how many other Ni Moths came in amongst the clouds of Silver Y's and were not detected. However, there were a good number of migrants recorded, particularly the Gem, Small Mottled Willow, Bordered Straw and Scarce Bordered Straw, as well as several Humming-bird Hawk-moths.
Gavin Broad was not the only new member of the recording team in 1996 as we welcomed Tom Edmondson of Chester, Richard Hall of Timbersbrook, Alexandra Russell-Moore of Mouldsworth, and very recently Simon Greenfield of Crewe who has worked a garden trap at home and also recorded in the Crewe Business Park and occasionally further afield. Of the established members, mention must be made of Paul Yarlett who managed the only Clearwing record during the year. Paul Hill is not a new name to us but his team of trappers working at Witton were certainly a new asset and they added eight (8) new species to the total for SJ67, as well as a couple of very welcome update records for that square.
The highlight of the year was unquestionably the discovery by Ian Wallace of the Sandhill Rustic on the coast at West Kirby in SJ28. This is just opposite the well known colony at the Point of Ayr, and we have expected to find it on the Wirral for some years. Its eventual discovery is most gratifying. Apart from this discovery of another resident species, the year was notable for the recording of several species for which we have had very few records in recent times. In this category I include the Scarce Footman, Marbled Coronet, Golden-Rod Brindle, Double Kidney, Large Nutmeg, Dusky Sallow, Brown-veined Wainscot and Blackneck. Whether these species are really increasing in numbers or were just casual specimens encountered we cannot yet tell but it is clear that there are some species that are extending their range within the County, in particular the Pale Pinion in SJ87, not previously recorded further east than SJ65, the Black Rustic which was recorded in four new squares in the eastern half of the County, and Blair's Shoulder-knot which managed five new squares and was very plentiful in some parts, Barry Shaw having had 34 in his trap in one night !!
When it comes to the commoner species, I tend to play the numbers game; at the start of 1996 there were just four squares with less than 250 species recorded, a clear incentive ! SJ68 at 230 was the lowest and a combination of larvae beating in High Leigh near the M6 coupled with light-trapping at Blundell's Nurseries has added 14 but still leaves 6 to find. In SJ86 we were more successful as the traps of Tom Davison and Richard Hall, together with a fair amount of field-work, has taken us up past the 250 mark. In the other two squares, 56 and 76, day work included larvae beating and sweeping, has reduced the deficiency but some night work might be needed to get the last four species in each square. Another numbers target that continues to elude us is that of proving that at least 100 species occur in all 31 of the 10 kilometre squares which make up Vice-County 58 (Cheshire). We added another five species in 1996 but are still about 5 short of the hundred.
C.I. Rutherford - (February 1997).
The following new records were received for Vice-County 58 (Cheshire)
for 1996 (updated records are not given here and will be dealt with separately):
- an asterisk (*) indicates a new species for the county; the number at
the extreme left is the Bradley & Fletcher code from their publication:
"A Recorder's Log Book or Label List of British Butterflies and Moths"
- J.D. Bradley and D.S. Fletcher (1979) :-
4 Priory Close, Halton, Runcorn, Cheshire, WA7 2BN
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