Recent nights have been mild, which has encouraged me to drag my moth traps out of hibernation. 'Traps' plural is relevant. It's always tricky at this time of year whether to use an actinic or MV. So I use both. Interestingly, whereas the MV caught three times as many moths as the actinic on two nights, the latter turned tables on a third night, catch triple the number that entered the MV. Both were in the same place each night, but I wonder whether rainy weather coaxed moths down to the actinic (which sits on a first-story roof) before they noticed the MV (on a table at ground level). Anyone got any ideas? There are some nice species flying at this time of year. The highlight was the Tawny Pinion blogged about yesterday. But several Oak Beauty were stunning and several Grey Shoulder-knot classy. So too a Pale Pinion (a glorious stick of a moth), and the micros Tortricodes alternella (which has unusually long wings for a tortrix) and Diurnea fagella (I yearn to see its flightless female, but will make do with males).
No, not March Moth: this is a blog about moths in March, not the species known as March Moth. But the potential for confusion is illustrative of a debate that regularly resurges about whether or not species names deserve to be treated as proper nouns and thus use the uppercase. Skilled pan-species naturalist Graham Lyons stridently advocates this: see his blog here and the Twitter debate here. One oft-cited case is whether you have caught a Small Elephant Hawk-moth or an elephant hawk-moth that just happens to be small. Publishers I work for play it differently: the RSPB, BBC Wildlife and newspapers go for lower case, but the bird magazines, field-guide publishers and (after some discussion) my book Much Ado About Mothing went for uppercase. I do whatever is required, but prefer the latter. And hence the title of this blog relates to moths caught this month - although they did include several March Moths...