december 2016

“Mothing”

Some of you might know I started recording (all) moth species that occur in my backyard. With the help of a skinner trap and pheromones I managed to identify 204 species of moths in 1 year of recording (around 35 sessions). Special thanks to Davy De Groote who did most of the identification for me as I stalked him with pictures. After being captured and identified, the moths are being released.

Why the hell would you want to record moths? Well, they are just beautiful (ok ok not all of them are), mysterious and interesting.

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The lime hawk-moth, Peppered moth and Buff-tip.

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The lilac beauty

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The orange moth

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The orange moth, The lilac beauty and The swallow-tailed moth

The pictures above were taken the “MEET YOUR NEIGHBOURS” way. Basically that means: on a thin white plate with flashlights from underneath.

Despite being notorious for eating clothing, most moth adults do not eat at all. Many moths do not have mouth parts. Among those adult moths that do eat, they will drink nectar…

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Elephant hawk-moth

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The burnished brass

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The Beautiful Hook-tip

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Six-spot burnet

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The raspberry clearwing

Will 204 species be the end? According to the species estimator formula from Chao (1984), also know as “the Chao 1 estimator” I still have some species to cover…

the formula = Sobs + F1² / (2 x F2)
Sobs = Total caught species
F1 = species caught once
F2 = species caught twice

That makes around 385 species to be expected…woohoow

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The three Mees’keteers

Weekend

Time to be lazy and have some fun with a remote controlled camera. After setting up a small dining table for the birds in the garden I looked for a nice branch where they could land on and manually set my focus on it. I had Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus) in the background to color it up just a bit. As it was a dark day, ISO went up to 2000 and for obvious reasons diafragma was set on 10 which gave me a depth of field of around 2cm.

Off course, with this technique, you miss a lot of shots but I only wanted shots from birds on THIS branch so in this case, it works just perfect and I could enjoy my breakfast with my pyjamas on inside while photographing.

Blue tits, curious as they are where the first to use the branch:

Pimpelmees

Followed by the nervous coal tits who never really wanted to pose perfectly:

Zwarte mees

Zwarte mees

and a great tit showing his ass:

Koolmees

Other species really didn’t want to land on this branch but directly on the dining table or on the grass. Next to the 3 tit species, following species were also present that day: Great spotted woodpecker, European green woodpecker, Common chaffinch, Greenfinch, European robin, Eurasian wren, Common magpie, Common blackbird, Eurasian tree sparrow, House sparrow, Dunnock, Collared dove, Common wood pigeon and a female Sparrowhawk trying to get a Collared dove.

As I am currently building a fixed 2 man hide (The Built)to place in my meadow I’m sure spring will get me great opportunities…

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