Moths count, they play vital roles in the ecosystem, affecting many other types of wildlife. They are food for bats and birds, frogs and toads, even the gardener’s favourite, the hedgehog loves to tuck in to a juicy moth. They are pollinators and play a vital role in our ecology. According to Butterfly Conservation ‘moth recording has never been more popular and the number of recorders is growing rapidly in many areas. As a consequence, recording coverage is increasing, making it possible to achieve realistic assessments of species distribution at the national scale over a period of years. At the same time, the conservation need for such data has never been more pressing’.
On Saturday 30th July Walberswick was chosen for a moth survey, which took place on the Common/marshland border off Palmers Lane. Eight moth specialists attended and placed light traps in the habitat. Despite heavy rain followed by clear skies and a steep drop in temperature resulting in mist, which made for far from ideal conditions which would be a warm, muggy, still night for a successful survey 84 species were recorded.
Keith Knights, who organised the survey, was disappointed with this figure but it’s wonderful to know that, even on a cool night , so many species were identified. Walberswick’s biodiversity is often overlooked, but if you take the time to look on our common land, or even in your garden you’ll certainly be able to find an abundance of moths and butterflies.
Moths such as the Lackey moth, which is seldom seen these days, a few moths specialising on Gorse and Heather and the impressive Garden Tiger, a large moth the same size as a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly were seen despite the survey ending early before 00.45 due to lack of flying moths on the night.
If you’d like to understand more about the importance of these elusive creatures and their importance as indicators of environmental health visit www.mothscount.org