Friday 12th. Having dipped below the hundred mark for the first time in six nights Common Wainscot was back on form with 234 in the trap, though the star of the show was our first Angle-barred Pug for Dorset. A rare moth in the county, the sporadic nature of the few records makes it difficult to assign a resident status to the species, particularly as most are from the coastal belt where dispersal is suspected (Dorset Moths). A Wheatear was buzzing along the road to Friar Waddon as we drove towards Upwey and we spent the afternoon sheltering from the 27°C heat.
Wednesday 10th. The migrant Pearly Underwing appeared in our moth trap last night, though numbers (even Common Wainscot!) declined, perhaps in response to the growing moon. The arid conditions are making life challenging for all insects, so it was good to see Holly Blue and Brown Argus in the garden in the afternoon. Here’s a picture of the sunflower field along Cheese Lane ……..
Tuesday 9th. The current drought conditions, high daytime temperatures, set to climb even further, and clear conditions by day and night have all conspired to bring a sense of the doldrums at present. So, it was rather against the run of play that a Red Kite appeared over Tatton ridge to the south just before midday. As for our moths, Common Wainscot reached a new high of 252 last night and we aren’t yet at their peak period, which tends to be in early September.
Saturday 6th. Amid a sudden explosion in numbers of Common Wainscots last night brought first records for the year of Square-spot Rustic and Least Yellow Underwing. Much of the rest of a sunny day was spent rebuilding the dry stone wall outside the cottage, then watching a ferocious duel between South Africa and New Zealand that saw the Springboks win 26-10 with a pretty dominant performance. After that we went to one of our favourite Dorset spots, Sculpture on the Lakes, to see a performance by FB Pocket Orchestra entitled Around the World in 80 Staves. With music from Venezuela to Germany it was a collection of world music that recalled much of the wonderful Sunday evening shows by Alexis Corner and then Andy Kershaw on Radio 1, when it was worth listening to. It even featured Tom Waits’ Chocolate Jesus, a piece I never believed I would see performed live. The band members are Jenny, with a warm, bluesy voice and an excellent clarinet, Paul and Ollie on Fender Stratocaster and percussion, augmented by accordion, all producing laid-back jazzy blues dating back to the 1920s and 30s. Headlined by the platinum-haired Carley Varley (yes, really) who had something of Suzanne Vega about her with her acoustic guitar and sharp vocals, it was a thoroughly excellent evening. I even got up to boogie!
Thursday 4th. Last night mothing brought another new species for Dorset and, indeed, for ourselves, never having encountered it in Sandwich: this fabulous Mocha, a rather local species in the county, associated with field maple.
Tuesday 2nd. Oak Eggar was new for the year last night and as we went through the contents of the trap it began to rain! Actually it was merely a soft and inconspicuous drizzle that lasted for an hour or so then fizzled out, though it remained windy.
Monday 1st. The final mothing session in July produced another Small Rufous that was a different individual to the previous night, together with a Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet. To say that July was a good month would be a major understatement. Having reached the 300 mark for macros recorded in Dorset on the 6th we reached 316 by the end of the month; a figure that it took two years to achieve in Sandwich, not the 15 months since we started trapping here. Avian interest at the start of the new month included a Sparrowhawk soaring over Tatton.