Friday 24 January 2020

Summary of 2019.

2019 was not been a good year from a moth point of view. Continuing local drought conditions on top of reduced numbers of insects generally.
Locally we have had a particularly dry period coming into summer, which is normally our wet season. The flush of growth from early rain really didn't happen and the few caterpillars that hatched would have had a hard time surviving the lack of fresh growth.
Bird numbers are also down, particularly the aggressive Noisy Minor (Manorina melanocephala), which rely on insects for breeding. They are one of the bird species that cooperate in families to feed offspring, and we have seen very few young birds.
The year finished off with one of the worst bush fire seasons for this area, and we are now at the end of January and have only had about 65mm of rain. February, hopefully, will be a little better.

Despite this we are getting a few moths appearing, still in very low numbers but fresh new season moths. In a couple of cases, the sizes are much smaller than usual. This can happen in butterflies too in particularly dry times, and they seem to go on to breed normally.

It remains to be seen how long it takes for insect numbers to recover. A lot will depend on the quantity and timing of rainfall over the next few years. The timing is important, late rain will not see the moths reproduce before winter.

On the other hand, our pond has been working overtime this year with five species of dragonfly and two damselfly species using the pond for breeding.
January 2020.

Note:- A couple of hours after I wrote this blog we got another 40mm in 20 minutes in a thunder storm. Much of the water ran off  because the ground is so dry but it all helps.

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