In rows from top left:
August/ September Thorn, Scarce Footman, Yellow Tail.
Beautiful Hook-Tip, Burnished Brass, Bird-Cherry Ermine.
Riband Wave, Green Silver-Lines, Buff Ermine.
Swallow Tail, Drinker, Bordered Beauty.
Maiden's Blush, Buff Tip, Rosy Footman.
Perfect Moth Weather (hot, humid, still) so there were hundreds in the box this morning. A few were species I've only recorded once or twice here (the Green Silver-Lines has only ever been recorded from our garden once, four summers back). The Nepeta is currently playing host to most of them until nightfall and the Blackbirds are keeping beady eyes on the box :o)
Talking of birds, I received my copy of the BTO's Breeding Bird Survey results for 2015 this week. I contribute to it by looking after two squares up on The Chalk which I survey twice a year during Spring. Mostly this is done through bird song ID as many of them are seen and not heard and Spring is the peak season for male birds singing.
On the whole it makes sobering reading, with long-term (1995-2014) population declines recorded for many UK species including Willow Tit, Marsh Tit, Skylark, House Martin, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew, Cuckoo, Tawny Owl, Kingfisher, Wood Warbler, Dipper, Mistle Thrush, Spotted Flycatcher, Nightingale, Pied Flycatcher, House Sparrow, Yellow Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Greenfinch, Linnet, Yellowhammer and Corn Bunting and that's not an exhaustive list.
Turtle Doves declined 93%, making them the fastest disappearing UK species. The reasons are varied: agricultural changes affecting their UK breeding grounds, hunting pressures during migration and changes in their West African winter quarters.
Long-term declines were also recorded for Song Thrushes (15%), Swifts (47%), Kestrels (36%) and Starlings (49%).
There were some Good News Stories among the gloom. In England, Peregrine numbers are recovering after organochloride pesticides were banned (they thin the egg shells making them unviable as well as poisoning the bird and its prey). We saw a pair roosting on the Tate Modern building when we popped up to London (and Libertys :o) ) last week.
Over the short-term (2014-2015) Barn Owl numbers are up by 88% (although they follow vole populations which typically follow a boom and bust model, so it doesn't necessarily mean the Barn Owl population is rising year on year). Siskins rose 81% over the same time period too.
I'm interested that many of the species we have in relatively robust numbers here are declining nationally. House Sparrows, Tawny Owls, Starlings. Song Thrushes, Mistle Thrushes, Skylark, Yellowhammer, Greenfinch to name a few. I am convinced part at least of the reason for this is the food we put out. There were no House Sparrows here when we moved in ten years ago. Three years in we had a breeding pair and now a colony of between 30-50. Starlings have only begun to visit in the last two years, and this summer two broods have fed regularly in the garden. We also have Greenfinches (although usually only one or two), and Marsh Tits too.
What this tells me is that you CAN make a difference by putting food out YEAR ROUND - not just over winter. In a bad Spring, like the one we've just had, the birds rely on this supplementary food source in order to be able to lay their eggs in the first place and then to brood the young successfully.
They need places to shelter, water to drink and bathe in, roosting and nesting places and a good quality food source (fat balls and seed are perfect).
We're just about to tip into Summer Holiday Mode here with L due home any minute. Poppy has been ill this week, a stomach upset that put her off her food so we all know it must have been serious. Luckily, Lovely Vet Clare was straight on it and sorted her out and now she's making the most of fresh fish for supper (Poppy. not Clare). Ted is quietly outraged at the injustice. I loved Clare's summation of the situation: If a Jack Russell hasn't got you by the throat, you know something is wrong :o)
Hope you're all well, and if in the UK enjoying this beautifully warm weather?