Country Corner - Out with the clipboard for a day surveying

editorial image

Suddenly it’s invertebrate and botany surveying season and we will be busy all summer now collecting biodiversity data for clients, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

On warm days insect surveys are a great pleasure but during long dull spells it is sometimes not possible to find optimum weather.

In these conditions as well as late in the season, when flying insects are scarce, we rely heavily on finding larvae like this caterpillar of the lesser yellow underwing moth.

I guess it may be meant to resemble a bird dropping as it sits exposed like this.

Normally larvae are much more circumspect and finding specimens takes a bit of skill and effort.

To tell the truth I don’t mind having to rely on caterpillars on a survey as each one found is proof of breeding.

Adult butterflies and moths are all very well but there is no guarantee the habitat management has produced them.

Insect eggs, caterpillars and pupae all tell much more about the health of the environment and the success of the management regimes.

Also, if I am honest, the quest for non adult forms of invertebrates is more challenging, more rewarding and more fun!

It is also true, particularly in the case of moths, that the caterpillars are often much more colourful and strikingly patterned than the adult moths.

Of course, all of the above applies to terrestrial invertebrates.

In the case of freshwater surveys, finding the sub adult forms is a lot easier than finding adults.

All you need is a net, a bucket and a pair of waders.

Underwater life of endless variety tells of the pre adult stages of dragonflies, damselflies, mayflies and a whole host of flying treasures.

So it’s out with the clipboard and on with the job.

Wish me luck!