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Sorry but no Moth of the Week this week.  Instead, I thought I would put out a note about the thousands of records which I know have been so diligently collected over the past year.  A few people have been sending me monthly spreadsheets of what they have found which has always very useful to keep me up to date on how the seasons are progressing.  More of you have been sending notes about rare or unusual sightings which is also incredibly interesting and useful and helps demonstrate how much there is still to be found out about our D&G moths.  In particular, records of micro-moths new to D&G keep turning up as more recorders are developing skills in both finding and identifying these fascinating insects.  Other records of ‘new’ species are demonstrating time and again that many moths are moving north as a result of climate change and, of course, D&G is so often the first place they come to!

I know the year is not quite ended but it would be good to aim for completing entering your records into a spreadsheet and getting it to me early in the New Year.  This is when my work really begins as I go through all this data and follow up any records which might be questionable.  Then all of these individual sets of information are gathered together into one spreadsheet and eventually sent to SWSEIC for regional use and to Butterfly Conservation for the national picture.  I am happy to do any manipulation to get these records into a standard format and I am always happy to help you with any questions you have about the process.  My next step is to make sure that my own records are entered!!  I know not everyone is as keen on spreadsheets as I am and, as you know, I am more than happy to accept your records in whatever form you like to keep them.  Do add any comments you might have about the records as frequently it is these notes which allow an accurate understanding of the species at a later date.

Which leads naturally to the publication of Butterfly Conservation’s and Moths Ireland’s Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths – I have my copy.  This 492 page book is a fantastic analysis of the astonishing over 25.6 million records so painstakingly collected by the vast network of recorders over the last 275 years.  Most of these are recent and it is thanks to the remarkable effort of our recorders in last 15 years that so much is now known about the moths of D&G.  I hope everybody gets a copy of this beautiful book which summarises each species in half a page with a distribution map, an analysis of its flight period and a paragraph on where it is found and how the population has changed.  Including the whole of Ireland in the maps is perfect sense and the coloured 10km squares makes it easy to see the changes in distribution pre 1970, 1970-1999 and 2000 onwards.  The results are well worth looking at to dwell on where different species live (e.g. from the extreme SE to the far north) and why, west coast species and east coast ones, which moths have spread north to Scotland and many other geographical, habitat and climatic questions.  I am sure that I will be finding out a lot about both rare and common species and I know that it will help us target species, habitats and times of year better than ever.  Thank you to you all for your part in this milestone publication even though I know that is out of date before it has been printed as, in D&G, several new species in new locations have been found since the Atlas deadline in 2016!  A perfect Christmas present?

Britain And Ireland’s Moth Atlas
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