On a wing and a prayer

Country Life Every Week - - Letters To The Editor - Mark Hedges

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

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