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Recording moths

The Berkshire Moth Group plays an important role in encouraging the recording of moths in the county - all records of moths are welcome, and are used to help monitor changes in moth populations and to provide information for their conservation. Below is some information on getting involved with moth recording - if you already have some records find out how to send them in (our preferred route is via the iRecord system but other options are available).

Moth recording can be done in many ways, depending on how much time and experience you have. Some startign points are:
  • Look out for day-flying moths such as Burnets and Cinnabars.
  • Go out after dark with a torch and see what moths are on your garden flowers.
  • Buy, make or borrow a moth trap and record the moths in your garden, and if you can do that on a regular, once-a-week basis you can join in the Garden Moth Scheme.
If you are just starting to record moths, you may find it useful to look at our Common moths through the year - an attempt to show the moths you are most likely to find in your moth-trap in order of when you will see them! See also the Moth Recorders Handbook, a free download from Butterfly Conservation's "Moths Count" project.

As you become more experienced you may be able to buy or borrow a generator so that you can start recording on nature reserves and elsewhere away from home. Or you may decide to focus on micro-moths and get in to rearing their larvae, which can allow you to find many species that do not come to moth traps.

When you send in records they are checked by the county recorder (Martin Harvey) before being added to the county moth database. Details of the verification process used to keep our records accurate are given here:
Moth recording targets in Berkshire
The Berkshire Moth Group is working towards a number of targets to improve our recording of moths in the county. Initially these are aimed at contributing records to a new national atlas of moths, for which 2016 is the last year of fieldwork for records to be included. We have also started to make plans for compiling a county moth atlas, and are starting to target our recording to ensure that we have the best information available to inform the atlas over the coming years. Here are all our current moth recording targets. For those records that have been added to iRecord, you can see the latest progress via our "Activity" pages.

Where is Berkshire?
That might seem like a daft question, but moth recording is organised around 'vice-county' boundaries, which are roughly equivalent to the county boundaries in use before 1974. This means that "Berkshire" includes much of what is now south-west Oxfordshire. For instance, these places are all in Berkshire for moth recording purposes:
  • Abingdon
  • Didcot
  • Faringdon
  • Wallingford
  • Wantage
On the other hand, Slough is in vice-county Buckinghamshire! Upper Thames Butterfly Conservation has some more information about vice-county boundaries, and if you need to check which vice-county you are in, or look up a grid reference, just go to 'Cucaera' and enter your postcode or address in the search box, and it will let you pick your location, zoom in to it and display the grid ref (at the top of the page) and the vice-county (in a box on the side).

More information
For more information about recording moths, see our Resources page, and also the Moths Count website. Or come to one of our meetings or events

Number of moth species recorded in Berkshire per 2km square ('tetrad')
 at November 2011 - not a dramatic change from 2009 but some good 
progress on infilling the empty space on the west Berkshire downs, and 
increasing species totals in the Reading and Maidenhead areas:

Berkshire moths - species richness 2011

Number of moth species recorded in Berkshire 
per 2km square as it was in February 2009: