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An individual, of no great importance, who is unable to the see the natural world as a place for competition, that was until Covid-19 intervened!. 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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Wednesday, 22 June 2022

Flower power

It would seem that garden moths (& mothing) are, currently, a very common subject for posts amongst the regular bunch of bloggers with whom I feel an affinity. Whilst my own involvement is but casual interest, there are a whole bunch of folk, out in blogland, who treat their mothing with a great deal more commitment. Ever since the start of the pandemic, my interest in gardening has taken on a new meaning. Yes, I've always cut the grass and pruned a few bushes as way of keeping the place looking tidy - ish? Now, however, thanks to the period of furlough I've gotten much more involved with actual plants and how the garden appears to visitors. It's not become an all consuming passion, just a way of using my time between other things I enjoy doing. I couldn't tell you the names of most of the plants that are growing in the various planters (home made), wall-mounted, and hanging, baskets plus assorted pots but do know the majority have been chosen due to their attractiveness to insects. 

It's not difficult to keep on top of the job, once the basics have been completed. Keeping the plants watered is now part of my daily routine and, around every ten days, or so, the added boost of a dose of Miracle-Gro plant food seems to be producing results. Out at the front of the bungalow there is a low wire fence which seperates our drive from that of the neighbours. It is along this boundary that a true wild garden exists. Red Valerian and Wild Spurge have created a superb boundary along this fence line and, although not planned, has proven to be a great draw for the local insects. Under these circumstances I can take zero credit whatsoever?

The wild boundary between the two drives.
Red Valerian is a superb attraction for many species of insect,
Wild Spurge? I live in hope.

Getting back to moths and all things garden moth trapping. In my own, skewed, little way I've probably exhausted any obsessive interest in moths in much the same way as I have "twitching" and circuit water "speccy hunting". I think the term "phasing", as coined by Gavin Haig, certainly fits the bill here. Been there, seen it, got the "T-shirt" Today I'm absolutely at ease, and just as passionate, about my involvement with our natural world, yet, it has to be done my way or not at all.  My garden mothing, therefore, isn't full on - "I must id every critter I set eyes upon" sort of thing. Instead, I remain curious, interested certainly, but not to the point where enjoyment is replaced by fanaticism. The micro moths I see are certainly an aspect of the hobby about which I have massive scope for learning. That these insects remained overlooked/ignored for such a long time is testament to the high degree of skill involved in getting a positive id. That some folk are prepared to execute their captures in order to ascertain genetailia detail speaks volumes about how sad/desperate those spread sheet/pan listing naturalists have become! It's natural history not a bloody sporting league table. If I'm unable to confirm an id from a photo, or potted moth, then I don't get an id - a very simple concept. My life still goes on and so does that of the unknown insect. 

One of the Momphidae clan, but I'm buggered if I can clinch it!

There must be a correlation between age and perception of what is important? Although I'm convinced it would be different for each individual involved in the equation? For me, therefore, the experience has to be about enjoyment as opposed to pushing boundaries. Sure, the "always learning" mantra will remain as I continue to explore the wonders of the environments I encounter along life's pathway. That I fail a few exams won't cause me any angst, and of that I'm certain! One thing that is of note about the current situation around our bungalow is the massive increase in the numbers of hawk-moths that are being recorded. So far, in 2022, these are my garden totals :-

Poplar Hawk-moth - 1

Lime Hawk-moth - 5 

Eyed Hawk-moth - 7

Small Elephant Hawk-moth - 2

Privet Hawk-moth - 3 

Elephant Hawk-moth - 37 (including 14 on 17/18th June)


To top this off, Humming-bird Hawk-moths are daily visitors to the Red Valerian in the front garden along with several butterfly species. I might never be a botanist, or gardener, but do know that, armed with a watering can, maintaining the flowers will do nothing other than assist with the catch returns of the garden 125w MV Robinson moth trap.



2 comments:

  1. Red valerian. One of my favourites

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    Replies
    1. Hi BB,
      If someone had said "Red Valerian" to me, before the pandemic started, I would have taken it as an insulting term, such was my ignorance of all things to do with flowers and gardening. Fortunately, now retired, it is so simple to take a step back and smell the flowers along the way.
      Hoping all is well with you and the gang? Tight lines - Dylan

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