Showing posts from June, 2023

What did you do during the climate crisis?

When I was growing up there was a common question - in real life and on the TV - that was asked of older relatives and family friends, and that was "What did you do in the war?" It would not surprise me if future generations have their own version of this, that along the lines of "What did you do during the climate crisis?" And, if you are going to be asked that question, what do you think your answer will be? Most people, sad to say, are not really interested in the drivers of climate change. They might be nudged into some sort of response when something directly affects them - the shops run out of ice cream and cold drinks if it's too hot; their fence gets blown down when it's too windy; or there's a hosepipe ban because it's too dry. When these irritations stop (which, at the moment, they do) all talk of a climate crisis is then relegated to media chatter, becoming just a background noise to be ignored alongside Brexit, boats crossing the channel

Red-necked Footman

Most people who run a moth trap in their garden will have a list of species that they believe will 'one day' come and visit them. After 36 years of switching on the MV here in Banstead quite a few of these have come to pass. Last night another species joined them. Red-necked Footman is quite a striking creature - slim winged, coal black, save for a reddish-orange collar and abdomen. It has undergone a range expansion in the UK in recent years and is considered, at times, also an immigrant. With a recent influx of moths from the continent this could be a part of that immigration. This is the 648th species of moth recorded in the garden, with 411 of those being macros. The hot weather is due to continue for a few days yet. With quite a few migrant moths wandering southern England at the moment there will still be a chance to pull out a prize in this lepidopteran lucky dip.

14 days 'at home'

The project came about when I was considering a day trip to Wiltshire to try and find some elusive day-flying moths. My intended targets included The Forester and Scarce Forester. I had already recorded Cistus Forester, but those other two species had defied several attempts to see them. They differ little in appearance and identification is down to minuscule size-differences and the tip of the antennae. The more I thought about it the more ridiculous it seemed to me that I was considering a 200-mile round trip to try and find almost identical moths to one that I had seen before. Admittedly, there would have been more to such a trip than Forester moths, but it got me thinking. I do like a project, something to hang my observations on, to give my time in the field some sort of added meaning beyond just random enjoyment. In light of many things - climate change, low-carbon footprint, biodiversity collapse - I am increasingly questioning what I do and how I do it, particularly how I condu