Moth trapping in 2012
It was in 2005 and 2006 that I last put out a moth trap in my garden, which is south of Wanstead Flats and adjacent to Manor Park Cemetery at TQ 413 860. This was part of a moth trapping exercise instigated by the three members of East London Nature. This was to investigate the moth-species that might be found in this part of East London, and the result was that over a hundred species were identified. For more information on this, click here.
This year – 2012 – I put the moth trap out on occasions between 24 February and 22 August. The weather in 2012 was not very conducive to moth-trapping, but whenever I was able and the weather permitted, the trap was set out. I was aware of another problem, too; the lamp of the trap was old, and they apparently do lose their attractiveness (to moths, that is).
East London Nature did have another trap available, one that had been bought for a school project, but the lamp was missing. As this trap was a more powerful one, I obtained the necessary lamp and eventually set it up in the garden.
Considering the inclemency of the weather throughout much of the year the results compared favourably with those of 2005/6. A total of 742 (identified) moths were trapped comprising 154 species. This was clearly better than the previous years and there are a number of reasons why this should be. One is the more powerful lamp that was used compared to 2005/6. Another was the availability of the excellent book which describes and illustrates the micro moths – the "Field Guide to the Micro Moths of Great Britain and Ireland" by Sterling, Parsons and Lewington (British Wildlife Publishing Ltd.). The third perhaps was my own skills in identification based on previous experience – but that was probably negligible.
During 2012 a moth trap was also put out by Tim Harris in his garden on the Lake House Estate near to Bush Wood (TQ 402 870), at the other end of Wanstead Flats to me. Tim's trap was set out for a longer period than mine and probably on more nights - from 23 February to 13 November. The trap was consistently a higher light-output one – comparable to the second of the two that I used - and these factors may well have resulted in the higher numbers caught in the Lake House trap during the year, a total of 1576 (identified) specimens and 170 identified species.
It is interesting to compare results, and Tim has created a pdf file summarising these which is available here.
My own results have been laid out on a spreadsheet of a similar nature to those of 2005 and 2006. These are all available from here.
Paul Ferris, December 2012