On a wing and a prayer
MOTHS, the subject of David Tomlinson’s article ( June 15), are more numerous and diverse than most of us realise, if a recent local survey is any guide. On a Saturday night in mid July, a moth trap was set up in the churchyard at Buscot, on the Oxfordshire/ Wiltshire border, near Lechlade, by Oliver Fox of the University of Bristol (and Buscot church, where he’s the organist).
The warm and overcast conditions were perfect, he reported, and 86 moths covering 35 species were recorded, including two drinker moths ( above) and a garden tiger ( top right), both becoming scarce through loss of habitat. The site had not previously been surveyed and the findings will be fed into the National Biodiversity Network. A further survey is planned for later in the summer, when Dr Fox expects a totally different set of species, as those on the wing change constantly with the season. Our picturesque churchyard, with its yew trees and ancient, mossy leaning tombstones, is more interesting than we appreciated. Ian Morton, Buscot Churchwarden, Wiltshire
The writer of the letter of the week will win a bottle of Pol Roger Brut Réserve Champagne