The pitfalls of wildlife recording.

June 13th. Warm, muggy and now decidedly midgey.

Whilst we were having a wander around yesterday, a kind gent was trying to install some ‘pitfall’ traps to sample creepy-crawlies. I hope you appreciate my technical terms?

Pitfall traps are designed to catch insects, spiders, flies etc so they can later be identified. They do kill whatever falls into them, but this is currently the standard way that records are collected. It’s certainly uncomfortable having to take specimens, but it leads to a much better understanding of the biota (the things that live there) of an area than anything else. The ‘greater good’ argument. They are basically a cup, buried to the lip so creatures fall and are killed with a solution in the cup. Not ideal..BUT watch this space, as we are going to trial some DNA sampling this summer. More on this in a later blog.

After the earlier walk I offered to help install a series of traps. Digging them in next to the river we were attacked by midges. But when those were installed we moved onto less midgey territory. Once installed we decided to look for a rare spider that has recently been spotted in Swaledale. Getting our feet wet on a roastingly hot afternoon (for us upland types) was rather pleasant. Below is a pic of a spider similar (probably) to the one we were looking for.

The pitfall raps will be removed next week and results will be published here and on our ‘archive’ page.

We also found another oystercatcher on eggs and a pair of Large red damselfly.

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