Who am I?

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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition. I catch fish, watch birds, derive immense pleasure from simply looking at butterflies, moths, bumble-bees, etc - without the need for rules! I am Dylan and this is my blog - if my opinions offend? Don't bother logging on again - simple!

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Sunday, 23 August 2015

Surprises at every turn - this rambles on a bit!

Mothing has been a very "hit and miss" pursuit, thus far in 2015. I'd cobbled together the 125w electrics, of my Milton Mk VII, with the Robinson-like plywood & Perspex construction of my original 250w system. It worked, but only after a fashion - it needed a few tweaks and some TLC. With the forecast being somewhat dodgy, I have made an effort to get the system back into some sort of order. I've tidied up the electrics and cut a Perspex square to act as a rain-guard - I've already blown two bulbs this season! I think that I'll get another two nights before the weather turns and mothing will, again, become a struggle. (written on Friday 21st August)

Small Mottled Willow - yet another one! 2015 has been a very good year for this migrant.
The garden buddleias have almost finished, so their influence (drawing power?) is much reduced and I am, once again, reliant upon the attraction of the UV light, our geographical location and the whimsical nature of the Thanet weather. Having spent many hours looking at the "micros" which have been discovered upon the egg boxes within the confines of the "Robinson"; only now do I realise how little data was gathered during my early experiences - Sandwich Bay Obs, and the vast majority of the other observatories, I would imagine, simply collected the records of macros, with one or two exceptions. I can but guess at what was overlooked/ignored during that wondrous period. Knowledge and technology have come a very long way since 1994 - the use of social media and the infinite resource of the Internet, ensuring that modern, casual, moth-ers are better equipped, than ever, to solve those tricky id conundrums.

Twenty years ago; Tree-lichen Beauty was a major league rarity - in 2015, they
are a "gimme" in any Thanet moth trap during the late-summer/autumn.
I, as an individual, have finally woken up to the fact that micros hold every bit as much fascination, as their larger cousins, once the flicker of interest had ignited the flame. I am genuinely intrigued by the whole complexity of this massive group. The requirement to name everything I see is not, has never been, a concern - yet I readily acknowledge that a correct id adds something to the process, eventually?

Acrobasis mamorea (?)  - a local species associated with coastal habitat in the south-east
I know what I know and yet, continually, push the boundaries, to see what else I can find? At this very base level, I've become an explorer - delving into the (personally) uncharted territories; simply to discover what else is out there? The beauty of this approach is that the concept of rarity plays no role. I have absolutely no idea as to the "national (global) status" of anything which comes into my focus. In this format, my voyage of discovery is a very child-like journey, full of wonder and not a manifestation of obsessive list building (not that I have any objection to those individuals who get their enjoyment from such activity) - so nothing like my early specimen hunting or Kent "twitching" exploits. I still get the excitement, but without the negative bit; borne from failure to achieve a target.

Psuedargyrotoza conwagana - a common species associated with Ash and Privet. I'd never
knowingly seen one until this little chap was discovered on the egg boxes.
 
Of course I still harbour the desires to catch "big" fish from the venues I frequent; I remain fascinated by the birds which are attracted to my tiny garden and Newland's Farm beyond. My only serious birding, however, is done when I'm away from my comfort zone and there is a real likelihood of finding something different? Doesn't matter if I'm in Scotland, or Greece, the birds are way outside of my regular encounters and well worth that extra effort. My recent flirtation with garden moths has rekindled an interest which had very much dwindled. I find myself looking at macros which I know that I know, but for the life of me can't get a name without thumbing through the dog-eared plates of my original copy of Skinner. Yesterday it was a pristine example of Straw Underwing that had me somewhat confused - how much stuff have I forgotten? If I have become a little rusty with my macro id's then, it stands to reason, I will be lacking in my birding? Only by being constantly involved can I remain sharp. I now accept that I'm out of practice, I'll miss the obvious and am bound to screw up. Does it matter? Of course not - one bloke, unable to spot a juv Yellow-legged Gull amidst the throng in Ramsgate Harbour - the odd man out is the one who can!

Agriphilia tristella - I'm really starting to enjoy these Crambids
It is only now that I am able to see the incredible absurdity of the whole data gathering process, when applied to our natural world, especially the statistics involving our understanding of the invertebrates which share our space. No-one gives a toss as to the id of that fly they just twatted, the moth on the car number plate or the spider which went up the hoover. The populous of the entire globe couldn't care a monkey's about any of this stuff - but there are, thankfully, people who do. From the very off, their data gathering is skewed due to individual preferences. They are passionate about their subjects and will endeavour to use this to promote a certain viewpoint - "Lies, Damn Lies & Statistics!"
I love playing around with mathematical data, it's almost an art form? Don't see it? - Speak to an accountant! Playing games with numbers will produce whatever result you desire - just look at the spirited defence, offered by the tobacco industry, to counter the anti-smoking lobby! One, in eight, smokers die of lung cancer - turn it around? Seven out of eight don't - genius. Russian roulette with cigarettes - don't smoke & never have, thankfully! I wonder what the stats are for Stella Artois drinkers?
Harry in bed in my study (our spare room) the effects of "Chicken Pox" still
very apparent.
Cynicism or realism? You make the call based upon your own beliefs - dress it up however you like; very little changes? Harry was in our care, overnight, and on Saturday morning we took a stroll around the Newland's Farm footpaths. Didn't see anything to cause the slightest increase in my pulse rate - out in the back garden, on our return, a flash of "electric blue" was the start of a ridiculous encounter! Dylan only had a Kingfisher in his garden! - Oh no, much rarer than that! A bloody Budgie was perched on the fence - calling loudly as Harry and I were clearing some Ivy from the decking. There has been bat sp. (Pipistrelle at a guess) hawking above the moth trap, my latest angling exploits have been plagued by sodding eels and I watched two Common Swifts fly south, on Friday morning. An exciting life isn't it?

All the way from Alice Springs - you're having a laugh!
Quite likely from the same aviary as the Margate Cemetery
 (Redwing - the initial id)  Dusky Thrush intergrade?
There's no point in "bigging" things up - it is a struggle, at the moment, to find anything of interest. An Ichneumon Wasp, in the moth trap, is about as good as it gets.

An Ichneumon Wasp - beyond this I'm out of my depth. In the moth trap this morning!

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