In Wildlife We Trust

It is precisely 05.29 and I have just checked my moth trap. I ran just one actinic light last night, as I was overwhelmed the previous night. Running two traps in different parts of the garden was either a roaring success or stupid depending on your perspective. After two months my garden species list stands at 169. There may yet be another hiding in one of the pots in front of me.

My target for the year is 1,000. Why 1,000? Because the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust told me with my garden habitat I could expect ~1,000 species in a year. Now I think that is a real stretch. It probably assumes I can identify everything down to the smallest micro. It probably assumes that no moth escapes and I do not get stuck on 999. Nevertheless it is a benchmark. Let’s call it a guideline rather than a target.

I have been rather impressed with the HIWWT as they like to be called. In fact I liked it so much I joined. £3.50 per month. A bargain. They impressed me because I wrote to them asking for some advice on how to tame the beast that is my garden. They came back with fact sheets, links to excellent reference material and – wait for it – I corresponded with a real person! Deborah. There is a lesson here for other organisations, whose help lines are oxymorons staffed in the main by morons.

The advice on ponds is a little conflicting and I need to get my head around that. Leave the natural leaf litter in the bottom of the pond or clear it out? Reducing the spread of nettles and docks seems sensible. Thinning out also seems good advice. There are some plants I don’t think I have that I probably should introduce to enhance the species richness of the garden. Above all, I need a plan.

On the house front the week has been an unmitigated disaster. Blocked drains, deteriorating pipework and delays in getting the floor prepped for the kitchen to go in have all conspired to raise my stress levels and earlier in the week my chest pains were worrying. The rather banal poster and T-shirt for Keep Calm ideas should in my case perhaps read “Keep Calm, avoid shopping, builders and driving but eat lots and lots of ice cream and drink lashings and lashings of ginger beer”. Of course the T-shirt would need to be quite large but I’m working on that.

Let’s finish with a moth and a peaceful building. The moth’s common name is Blotched Emerald. Not ‘botched’ as I originally thought.Blotched EmeraldAnd here is the entrance to the Church of St. Lawrence, Winchester. St Lawrence Church is thought to have been originally the chapel of William the Conqueror’s palace, built about 1069. That is what we call history. I popped my head in out of curiosity. I have walked past hundreds of times but foolishly they built it opposite a camera shop. Enough said. I went in and was alone. Silence. Light. Peace. Just what the doctor ordered.untitled-1-Edit


33 thoughts on “In Wildlife We Trust

  1. Oh, Andrew! Breathe deep and remember it really doesn’t matter. Well, I know, easy for me to say. I’ve dealt with blocked drains and failing pipes too, so I know how difficult it is. You simply can’t stress yourself into a heart attack now you’ve got this wonderful garden to play with. Just think of all the moths you’ve yet to meet. Speaking of which, what a marvelous fellow this green one is.

  2. One hundred and sixty nine and aiming for one thousand sounds impressive. And I am much impressed that you spoke with a “real person.”

    Now about the house. It will all come together in good time and please do not fret so much that you give yourself a heart attack.

    I like the B&W of the church. It looks calm and peaceful. Go there when you are stressed.

  3. A real person – OMG! The shock might have been enough to cause your chest pains. On a serious note – check it out. Don’t want to worry you, but I have reasons for being concerned.

    • I am seeing both my docs in HK later this month Willo. I’m not using the NHS unless I have to. We need more real people. Who knows, things might go better than using an automated service.

  4. I’m glad it’s Blotched Emerald, Andrew; it’s definitely not botched. It’s lovely.

    I love the picture of the chapel. Especially the floor. That definitely is history.

  5. You could create your very own spring watch programme such as the one just finished on the BBC. very entertaining this year with finally the right presenters making wildlife interesting and humorous at the same time.
    Sorry to hear about your drain problem – I can sympathise – we’ve had the same thing happen at work would you believe with an undetected drain overflowing under our office. Rather than condemning the place as unfit to work in, Senior Management have decried from their castellated towers that we keep calm and carry on.

  6. Andrew moths are more than enough for you rite now the rest will sort itself out,the mechanics are not your strong suit stick to the moths
    As always Sheldon

  7. I feel your pain re the building work – is there any way that you can escape for a few days to get away from it all? Maybe lashings and lashings of ginger beer and lots and lots of ice cream on a secluded beach or on a river bank like in Wind In The Willows will do the trick?

    I love the floors of the chapel. They remind me of my childhood and the churches of rural Suffolk. Rainy days spent brass rubbing. I’m rooting for you to get 1000 moths in a year, wouldn’t that be fantastic. The Blotched Emerald is an absolute beauty – I rather fancy painting something that colour. Very Farrow & Ball’esque.

    And finally, here’s something from a man who never fails to make me smile – I thought it rather apt for your current situation.

    “And God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light, but the Electricity Board said He would have to wait until Thursday to be connected”.

    Spike Milligan.

    • Dear old Spike was wonderful. Have you read Puckoon? The priest wants to perform a miracle for his congregation and stands in the pulpit commanding fire to come from heaven. After several failed attempts he looks up and a voice from the loft above says: hold on a bit father. The cat’s pissed on the matches. Typical Milligna. We are off for a break soon. 10 days in HK. Lots to do. I shall miss my moths though.

  8. Some time soon sitting in your newly renovated home will be as peaceful as sitting in the chapel. The Great British workman has long been a poor timekeeper, being an anachronism as well as an oxymoron. The pleasure will last an awful lot longer than the pain.

    • Our workers keep good time Simon. They are excellent but they are putting right all the problems caused by shoddy workmanship before. Quite depressing. I hope you are right about the pleasure.

      • On a similar note: I bought a a bellows, I bought enlarger lenses for It, I bought a manual stage for it, now I need software and some automation to make it work. Tell me shooting small things its difficult. And its taken a year so far to get past 1:1. May never happen.

  9. I love that moth, it does resemble our mighty (or not so mighty) dollar. 💵
    I’m glad you were able to find aid in the garden department. It is hard to find a human to help these days.
    Order me up one of your t-shirts when you produce them. I’ve thought of “Keep calm and shoot what bothers you” but I think the point gets lost in the translation… 😉

  10. HIWWT sounds like a great organization and lucky you to be the beneficiary of their kindness.
    1000 species! I am not sure I have seen that many insects all together much less moths. Of course, 1000 moths is not a large percent of the entire population of species, but it is still a massive number for a single garden, IMO.
    I was glad to see the name “Blotched Emerald. It looks rather like a leaf with drying edges, which I imagine is the main idea in its evolution, so the blotches are natural to the species.

    • I am dubious about 1,000 Steve. The micros are so difficult. But it’s not a numbers game. I just enjoy seeing what the traps pull in. There are plenty of bird poo moths too. Great camouflage. I must snap a few.

  11. That moth is a total delight. I’d like to design a dress round it. Meditation works… I have refused to believe this for 20 years… but it does and even I ( of the Catherine-wheel brain) can do it.

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