|A wet and windy base camp|
Alan and I arrived on-site just after 7:00 pm, the rain had been forecast to arrive by about 10:00pm, so we thought we would be well set up by then and that we could just sit it out. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the way things panned out as, when we arrived, it started to rain fairly steadily and the next hour or so was spent getting the traps out and setting up base camp under the gazebo; we were certainly a bit soggy by the time we had done everything! Soon after this the rain subsided and Douglas turned up with some further traps. Shortly before 9:00 pm the lights were switched on and we looked forward to a good evening’s trapping.
The Ingrailed Clay and Antler Moth made their presence known almost immediately, these were the most abundant species throughout the evening. These were shortly followed by the attractive Twin-spot Carpet a species found mostly in upland/moorland areas. As moorland events aren’t done very often we had in fact listed five species as our ‘target species’, and, we did quite well as we managed to record three out of the five – these were the macro species of Neglected Rustic (a species which I hadn’t seen before), the Heath Rustic, and the micro species of Acleris caledoniana.
Only one migrant species was recorded - a solitary Silver Y.
Rather surprisingly, we also manage to trap a new county record, this was a real bonus - Celypha rivulana is nationally a local micro species found in various habitats. In all 24 species were recorded, 18 macro and 6 micro - For a full species list please click here.
Around 10:00pm the heavens really opened up, but this time the driving rain (at 45 degrees) was accompanied by some strong winds, and, out on the exposed moorland there’s absolutly nowhere to hide, so, we had to lower the gazebo down, and for about an hour while this storm persisted we all hung onto the gazebo for fear of it blowing away! Meurig was checking a trap when the rain started, I can see him now returning through the heather to base camp – this conjured up an instant impression for me as he resembled the bedraggled and drenched convict, Abel Magwitch (from Great Expectations), labouring across the moor – certainly a sight for sore eyes, this definately lighened the moment.
By about 11:00pm the rain once again subsided and we had a dry spell to check all the traps; this yielded a True Lover’s Knot, Northern Spinach, Chevron, Anomalous and a Map-winged swift, but moth activity had slowed down by now and shortly before midnight we decided to call it a day and pack up. This time, however, we did time it perfectly as we managed to get all the kit away just in time for the rain to have a final say, but, it really didn’t matter now, as we were all heading home – the moor and its mothy ‘Great Expectations’, vacated till another episode!