Sunday, 1 April 2018

22nd and 24th March

New locations with new questions 

Small Brindled Beauty- Part 3

I ended up trying two new locations for the Small Brindled Beauty moth a bit later into this topsy-turvy March month this year.
This was due to the snow event mainly through the 17-18th and strong winds lasting across the three days to the 19th March.
The weather had settled back down by Thursday 22nd to allow me another attempt at finding this moth at another location. The conditions were good and site favourable that evening I would have thought, but I was disappointed as I never came across one at all even despite giving it plenty of opportunity to arrive.
Two days later I tried another favourable site close by. With cloud and a few spots of rain in the air towards the end of the session, once again I was thwarted with no sighting of the Small Brindled Beauty.
Afterwards I wished I had found them here because now a few questions were rolling around in my head after finding none. Questions like these below came up....

1. Why were they not at these favourable sites nearby?
2. Do they remain at lower altitude sites and are not found higher up?
3. Could it simply be that they have not colonised these sites yet?

After several days pondering and trying to gather information I am coming around to a possible explanation that may give some light on this oddity for me.
I'm beginning to think that maybe the emergence of this moth here may have happened between the two cold, March snow events.
From around the 4th to 5th right through to the 16th conditions did improve and become much milder and this may have allowed this moth to take flight.
Given that I found 6 moths on the 6th, and then 11 on the 10th, nearly double, earlier in the month, just maybe they were close to peak population just after the latter date here. Its still possible that the secondary site maybe more of a nucleus area then the first but given that they are close together I'm tempted to rule that notion out.

The height situation I don't think would make much difference in this case I've concluded.

The other fascinating thing I did find very interesting was the statement on the Hampshire moth site. This could answer one or all the questions I posed and explain what happened here.
They mention in the literature that the moth has a 'very short flight season'  (a real possible scenario that may have happened here) and it can go 'under recorded some years' due to the early spring weather. Spring is certainly a difficult time to go out trapping with weather very changeable, I can certainly vouch for that especially this March.
This may very well likely be the case here where it had a short opportunity of around two weeks or so between the cold snaps then suddenly disappeared off the radar.

Still, out of all of this the highlight over the two nights for me was this really nice Herald pictured below.
I do find this moth is very infrequently when I trap and I'm not sure why. Very few sightings for me overall which must be my bad luck because it comes to light and is quite distinct in shape with bright autumnal colours- not easily missed!


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