|A night’s catch|
We have just been up to Northumberland to help Brenda’s big sister Joyce keep on top of her fine garden. It gets a bit weedy and a little overgrown at this time of year. We always enjoy our visit, we are very well wined and dined and it is always lovely to see her.
For twenty five years, Joyce has as an unpaid volunteer, trapped, identified and reported moths. It is part of a national scheme run from The Arable Crops Research Institute at Rothamsted . Originally funded as a service to agriculture it now continues to collect data about climate change!
|Every night of the year moths are trapped and subsequently recorded.|
Some of you might have reservations about killing moths and other insects. Joyce’s sample only captures moths from about a fifty metre radius and the next trap is sixty miles away. No more insects are killed than on a long car journey on a hot summer night!
|Each day Joyce armed with her tweezers sorts out the catch under her large illuminated lens|
|Those relevant to her search are pinned out and counted|
Joyce can identify about one hundred different moths. She looks up new ones that she does not recognise. Her remit is to report particular kinds. She tells me that she used to pass on her catch to an elderly amateur entomologist. His eyes would light up like a child when his parcel arrived!
|It is absorbing work|
|But those long latin and greek names are a bit of a headache|
Two years Joyce attended a weekend gathering of thirty fellow lepidopterists who work in the scheme Other than Joyce they were all male. They treated her right royally and talked moths incessantly. She had a whale of a time!
|Joyce told me their names but I have forgotten them!|
It is proving to be a very good year for moths in Northumberland. There is no doubt that the present high temperatures are good for breeding. Joyce is finding species normally not found in the north. They have wonderful evocative names. This week she has had a Pale Emerald, a Swallowtail and an Orange Garden Tiger. She is very excited to hear that a rare moth almost exclusive to Holy Island is doing very well this year.
|Joyce has very fine taste, she grows rogersia!|
|And has a very fine garden|
By complete coincidence BBC Springwatch is doing a programme on moths on friday.