Be Old Fashioned - Don't Rely On The M.V. Light:
It is unavoidable that a large number of the 8,000 records of Macro-Moths that we have accumulated in recent years result from the use of light either in a garden trap or with a sheet on a night operation. This fact must not lull us into the feeling that there is no other way of getting records and that the ways of our predecessors are no longer worthwhile.
When I brought the records up to date during last winter 1989/90) I made a list of the commonest species which were only missing from one, two or three 10Km squares, hoping that this would point the way to filling a few gaps. It was immediately clear that SJ68 had not been properly worked in late Autumn or Winter. Three very common species, Winter Moth, Mottled Umber and Dotted Border, had not been recorded there but had been recorded for every other square in the County. The prospect of sitting by a sheet on a November night in those parts, and again in February, did not appeal!
A visit to Park Moss Wood with a beating tray in May 1990 produced several larvae of each of those three species in a few minutes but that was not all. Larvae were also obtained of the Northern Winter Moth and Pale Brindled Beauty in numbers and odd larvae were obtained of Brindled Beauty, Scarce Umber and Yellow Horned which, if confirmed, are all new to the square. Only one November Moth larva was obtained in spite of a sustained attack, presumably I was too late for this species which was a pity as it might be an Autumnal Moth and if it is a female it will be difficult to tell which, but either would be an addition to the records for SJ68. Just for good measure, more than one Grey Birch was seen on tree trunks during the visit, and that too is a new record.
Ten additions to the records for one square in a short visit in daylight may be unusual, but it does show what can be achieved with a little planning.
C. Ian Rutherford.