Sunday, 31 December 2017

The Unseen World

To be aware of the wonders of the living planet is to take on an unbearable burden of grief
By George Monbiot, published in the Guardian 19th December 2017
 
What you see is not what others see. We inhabit parallel worlds of perception, bounded by our interests and experience. What is obvious to some is invisible to others. I might find myself standing, transfixed, by the roadside, watching a sparrowhawk hunting among the bushes, astonished that other people could ignore it. But they might just as well be wondering how I could have failed to notice the new V6 Pentastar Sahara that just drove past
As the psychologist Richard Wiseman points out, “At any one moment, your eyes and brain only have the processing power to look at a very small part of your surroundings. … your brain quickly identifies what it considers to be the most significant aspects of your surroundings, and focuses almost all of its attention on these elements.” Everything else remains unseen.
Our selective blindness is lethal to the living world. Joni Mitchell’s claim that “you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone” is, sadly, untrue: our collective memory is wiped clean by ecological loss. One of the most important concepts defining our relationship to the living world is Shifting Baseline Syndrome, coined by the fisheries biologist Daniel Pauly. The people of every generation perceive the state of the ecosystems they encountered in their childhood as normal and natural. When wildlife is depleted, we might notice the loss, but we are unaware that the baseline by which we judge the decline is in fact a state of extreme depletion.
So we forget that the default state of almost all ecosystems – on land and at sea – is domination by a megafauna. We are unaware that there is something deeply weird about British waters: namely that they are not thronged with great whales, vast shoals of bluefin tuna, two-metre cod and halibut the size of doors, as they were until a few centuries ago. We are unaware that the absence of elephants, rhinos, lions, scimitar cats, hyaenas and hippos, that lived in this country during the last interglacial period (when the climate was almost identical to today’s), is also an artefact of human activity.
And the erosion continues. Few people younger than me know that it was once normal to see fields white with mushrooms, or rivers black with eels at the autumn equinox, or that every patch of nettles was once reamed by caterpillars. I can picture a moment at which the birds stop singing, and people wake up and make breakfast and go to work without noticing that anything has changed.
Conversely, the darkness in which we live ensures that we don’t know what we have, even while it exists. Blue Planet II revealed the complex social lives and remarkable intelligences of species we treat as nothing but seafood (a point it failed to drive home, in its profoundly disappointing final episode). If we were aware of the destruction we commission with our routine purchases of fish, would we not radically change our buying habits? But the infrastructure of marketing and media helps us not to see, not to think, not to connect our spots of perception to create a moral worldview upon which we can act.
Most people subconsciously collaborate in this evasion. It protects them from either grief or cognitive dissonance. To be aware of the wonder and enchantment of the world, its astonishing creatures and complex interactions, and to be aware simultaneously of the remarkably rapid destruction of almost every living system, is to take on a burden of grief that is almost unbearable. This is what the great conservationist Aldo Leopold meant when he wrote that “one of the penalties of an ecological education is that one lives alone in a world of wounds.”
In June this year, a powerful light – 125 watts to be precise – was shone into a corner of my own darkness. Two naturalists from Flanders, Bart van Camp and Rollin Verlinde, asked if they could come to our tiny urban garden and set up a light trap. The results were a revelation.
I had come to see the garden – despite our best efforts – as almost dead: butterflies and beetles are rare sights here. But when Bart and Rollin showed us the moths they had caught, I realised that what we see does not equate to what there is. There are 59 species of butterfly in the UK, but 2,500 species of moth, and our failure to apprehend the ecology of darkness limits our understanding of the living world.
When they opened the trap, I was astonished by the range and beauty of their catch. There were pink and olive elephant hawkmoths; a pine hawkmoth, feathered and ashy; a buff arches, patterned and gilded like the back of a barn owl; flame moths in polished brass; the yellow kites of swallow tail moths; common emeralds the colour of a northern sea, with streaks of foam; grey daggers; a pebble prominent; heart and darts; coronets; riband waves; willow beauties; an elder pearl; small magpie; double-striped pug; rosy tabby: the names testify to a rich relationship between these creatures and those who love them.
Altogether, there were 217 moths of 50 species. This, they told me, was roughly what they had expected to find. Twenty-five years ago, there would have been far more. A food web is collapsing, probably through a combination of pesticides, habitat destruction and light pollution, and we are scarcely aware of its existence.
Moths evolved around 190 million years ago. By comparison, butterflies are a recent development, diverging 140 million years later. Most explanations for this split focus on the spread of flowering plants. But might it have more to do with the fact that bats developed echo-location at roughly that time? Could the diurnal butterfly have been a response to a deadly adaptation by the nocturnal moth’s main predator?
Every summer night, an unseen drama unfolds over our gardens, as moths, whose ears are tuned to the echo-locating sounds bats make, drop like stones out of the sky to avoid predation. Some tiger moths have evolved to jam bat sonar, by producing ultra-sonic clicks of their own. We destroy the wonders of the unseen world before we appreciate them.
That morning I became a better naturalist, and a better conservationist. I began to look more closely, to seek the unseen, to consider what lies beneath. And to realise just how much there is to lose.
www.monbiot.com

Saturday, 30 December 2017

2018 January Moth Challenge

Hello all,
With another New Year approaching I am once again doing our January moth challenge. The challenge is to record 10 macro and or 5 micro species (or of course, as many species as you can record) during January. As many of you have found out in the past, this is definitely not an easy challenge, but it’s well worth having a go at as it generates many extra winter records when recording is often very sparse. It’s also a bit of fun, so go on, have a go, see how you get on, you might surprise yourselves!
There are only a few basic rules I would ask you to follow:-
1) Adults only to be recorded.
2) Records from a single site only.
3) Using one trap only. Daytime observations can also count as long as they're from the same site
4) Anyone can take part, but if you're not a recorder in Montgomeryshire you will have to let me know you're taking part so that I can contact you for your results. e-mail: peterwilliams526@btinternet.com
 
I will ask you for your results at the end of January when I will ask you for a simple list of:-
1) What species you recorded.
2) How many moths of each species you recorded
3) How many days you trapped on.
Have fun – see if you can beat your total of last year.
Happy New year to all of you and I hope you all have some great mothing in 2018.
Peter.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Montgomeryshire's Precious Pearls

The wildlife trust have just released a new film, narrated by Iolo Williams, about one of the county's rarest butterflies, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary:


You can read about the PBF on the trust's website:
http://www.montwt.co.uk/what-we-do/projects/pearl-bordered-fritillary

Monday, 4 December 2017

Annual Recorder's seminar (NMRS) Birmingham

Hello Moth-ers,

Just a quick note to remind you all that you can order your tickets for the annual NMRS meeting at Birmingham by clicking on the link below.

https://butterfly-conservation.org/13194/uk-moth-recorders-meeting.html

Please be aware that there only a limited number of tickets available, so please order as soon as possible. Hope to see some of you there.

Peter.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Suggestions for future MMG event venues

If anyone knows of any sites in the county that might be suitable for an MMG public event and that we have not yet visited over the years, please do get in touch.

 Douglas.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

Llandinam Gravels public mothing event

The weather leading up to our last event of 2017 at Llandinam Gravels was looking very good, with a southerly air flow, and the temperature staying mild. This promised a good evening of mothing and we weren’t to be disappointed. (click on any photo to see them all at full size)

Everyone gathered around the white sheet
Merveille du Jour

We were on site by 5:30 to give ourselves plenty of time to see where the traps were going, then to get set up, and by 6:30 the lights were switched on. It wasn’t too long before the first moth came to the table, a Spruce Carpet; this was closely followed by other autumn species: a Red-green Carpet, a Yellow-line Quaker, and a Chestnut. Next in was a superb Black Rustic followed swiftly by a stunning and very much crowd pleasing species the Merveille du Jour. The white sheet proved very popular with many moths being attracted to it, indeed, two Red-green Carpets found it extremely desirable and decide to mate on it, which was of interest for all to see. 

Pale November Moth

Common Marbled Carpet
 


The November Moths and other members of the genus were of course very much in evidence and we had a workshop on the best ways to separate the well marked individuals.

The white sheet very busy with moths

Unfortunately, although conditions were good for migrant activity, we didn’t manage to trap any.

Red-green Carpet mating
Angle Shades




We did however record six micro species which included Epinotia nisella and Argyresthia brockeella. For a full species list please click here.

A great head shot of a male Feathered Thorn
Acleris emargana




As the evening progressed we added Svensson's Copper Underwing, Snout, the Brick and the rather uncommon Dark Chestnut. The best moth of the night was probably a lovely Figure of Eight. Shortly before 11:00pm we decided to call it a night as no more new species were being brought to the table.

Figure of Eight


Many thanks to those who brought traps and to those who helped setting up and taking down the kit, and finally to Sue and Douglas for bringing along goodies for us all to nibble at.

Peter.

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On a personal note

Due to ongoing problems with my back this is the last event I shall be directly involved with as I am handing over the reins to a newly formed ‘Events team’ from the MMG members -  Douglas Boyes, Paul Roughley and Gavin Chambers. Between them they will organise and run public events throughout the county very much as I have done for the last 12 years, but of course, they will include their own take on things. 

A gift of a sponsored species (the Broom-tip) from the group


I was pretty gobsmacked when, during this event, I was handed a certificate by the group which said that the MMG had sponsored a moth (the Broom-tip) and dedicated it to me in Butterfly Conservation’s, ‘Atlas of Britain and Ireland’s Larger Moths’ due to be published in 2018. Such a lovely gift. I have framed it and will cherish it with fond memories. Sue then brought out a tin containing a chocolate brownie cake decorated with butterflies which of course went down very well with everyone; very tasty  indeed, thanks Sue.    

A lovely chocolate brownie cake from Sue


I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone, (past and present), who has supported the events over the years as these events have been an integral part of getting the message out about our moths and the pleasure they can give us. I have found that meeting people at these events has been very rewarding and I’m sure that this has been a catalyst for encouraging many more moth-ers in the county. I may not be directly involved with the events from next year, but I shall be attending them and supporting the new event team whenever I can. I’m absolutely sure that they’ll do a great job in the future.

And finally, a footnote – the first event I organised in Montgomeryshire in 2006 was at Llandinam Gravels – as was my last – this was totally unplanned, funny how things work out, isn’t it!

Peter.

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Llandinam Gravels - public mothing event



Hello All,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding its last mothing event of 2017 at Llandinam Gravels, in the south of the county just south of Llandinam. This event is being held on ‘Moth Night’ (formally National Moth Night) and on this occasion the theme is migrant species, so hopefully the mild spell of weather we’re currently experiencing will work in our favour and we’ll bag a migrant or two. This site located alongside the River Severn has produced some excellent records in the past, so please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this excellent site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Llandinam Gravels.
Event Date: Saturday 14th. October.
Meet: 6:30 onwards in the parking area at the end of the track.
Directions: As you approach Llandinam on the A470 from Newtown, take the first right by the statue and cross the river Severn over the narrow bridge; turn first left down the lane (then track) for about a mile and a half, we will be trapping at the end of the track. Please note The area where we will be trapping is beyond the MWT Llandinam Gravels Nature Reserve car park. Keep going down the lane until it comes to an end, then carry on straight on down the rougher track, we will be holding the event at the end of this track.
Grid Reference: SO011866.

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.

This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Peter.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Moths. Natural Histories Radio 4

Just providing a link to a general, but none-the-less very interesting programme about Moths broadcast on Radio 4 on 27th September. I for one did not know some moths could produce anti-bat sonar!

Phil.

BBC Radio 4 - Natural Histories, Moth

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Cors Dyfi event - a damp evening of mothing



Our penultimate event of the season was at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, an excellent low lying bog in the extreme west of the county which over the years has produced some unique county records, and therefore, it is a very important site as regards moth species.

A view of the white sheet from a very wet car park

As the event approached the weather hadn’t been that great, with wet and rather cool conditions prevailing. On the day of the event, however, fairly dry and cold conditions were forecast but as evening fell drizzle ensued; at least this held the temperature up a little from the forecast, so we couldn’t complain.

Pink-barred Sallow

We arrived onsite by 6:30pm to give ourselves plenty of time to sort out where traps were going and to get set up. By 7:30, in the gloomy conditions, the traps were switched on and after a short talk by me the event got under way at 8pm.

The timing of this event meant that some of our resident autumn species were very likely to make a show – and indeed, the first species to the table was a beautifully marked Pink-barred Sallow, swiftly followed by a Canary-shouldered Thorn, a Sallow and a rather nice (and abnormally large!) Angle Shades. For a full species list please click here.

Traps on the boardwalk

After about an hour a stunning Orange Sallow was brought in. I knew straight away that this was the first time this species had been recorded at an event and when I asked Janine to open the species page on her computer I could then confirm that this was only the forth site in the county where this species had been recorded – there was certainly a heightened buzz of camera activity once this was known. 

Orange Sallow

Micro species were a bit thin on the ground, but we did manage five species, which included Epinotia nisella a very variable species with many colour forms and Agonopterix ocellana which was a new site record for this species.

The only migrant species of the evening was a Silver Y.

The only migrant species of the night - a Silver Y

A very large looper caterpillar was brought to the table which got us all flicking through the reference books but we were soon able to identify it as a fully grown Peppered Moth Larva. Its camouflage was so like the sallow twig on which it was found that not everyone was actually able to see it right away – once again, the cameras were in action!

Peppered Moth Larva

By 11:00pm activity had slowed down so we decided to call it a night, and, as we were packing the traps away, we did manage to add three more species to the list, a Pale Pinion, Copper Underwing and the micro Endrosis sarcitrella (white-shouldered House Moth).

Many thanks to all those who brought along traps and those who helped with setting up and taking down the kit. Also, many thanks to Sue, who couldn’t be at the event in person but still managed to give Paul a tin of home made chocolate tiffin for us all to enjoy (Mmm!).

Peter. 

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Cors Dyfi public mothing event



Hello Moth-ers,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding its penultimate mothing event of 2017 at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve, in the west of the county just south of Machynlleth. This excellent low lying bog has proved to be an exceptional site in the past and we’re hoping something exciting may turn up, who knows! (perhaps a late Rosy Marsh Moth) along with those early autumn species, which include many of the beautiful sallow species. So please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this superb site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve
Event Date: Saturday 16th. September
Event Time: 7:00 onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: The reserve is found on the right hand side, 4 miles south-west of Machynlleth on the A487.
Grid Reference: SN704984

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.

This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.

As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.

You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Peter Williams.
Montgomeryshire County Moth Recorder (VC47)

Tel: 01650 511583

Monday, 4 September 2017

Nocturnal pollination study.

Below is an article I came across that I thought may be of interest to mothers et al .

Night time plant pollination by insects seems, by comparison to daytime pollination to have been relatively neglected until of late. It is increasingly now recognised as a significant factor in food crop production.

With the current crisis in Bee populations in particular, there is an urgent need to establish and understand the environmental factors that benefit or adversely affect night flying insects.

The following article also provides a link to the actual published article in the journal Nature.  

Pollination threatened by artificial light - BBC News

Makes me wonder about all those poorly positioned, permanent "security" lights I see at homes and work places, often illuminating far greater areas than necessary.

Phil.

Thursday, 31 August 2017

RSPB Lake Vyrnwy

On Friday 25th August I decided to take my 125w Robinson trap and another 125w Skinner trap away from my usual trapping site of the garden in search of other species on the reserve. I decided to try a known site for Ashworth's Rustic, though a little late in the season, and see what else would turn up.
Ypsolopha parenthesella

Conditions appeared good and midgies were bearable. I was able to pick up a few early species flying around the area, starting off with Flame Shoulder and Pinion-streaked Snout. A close look at the ragwort revealed several Ypsolopha parenthesella nectaring and later a nice Bordered Beauty.

Bordered Beauty
It was noticeable early on that geometridae species were going to be the most numerous with July Highflyer, Dark and Common Marbled Carpet and Devon Carpet being very noticeable. They also included Blue-bordered Carpet, Tawny Speckled Pug, Chevron and Purple Bar.

Neglected Rustic
Though noctuidae were low in quantity there was a good variety with highlights being Neglected Rustic, Barred Chestnut, Anomalous, Autumnal Rustic, Flounced Rustic and the only migrant of the night, the Silver Y.

Anomalous
Micros gave a good showing with at least 15 species recorded including Catoptria margaritella, Acleris variegana, Hypatima rhomboidella, Agonopterix ocellana, Pyrausta purpuralis and Gracillaria syringella.

Overall a good night with a total of 37 macros and 15 micros, sadly no late Ashworth's Rustic but a nice variety.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Day-Flying Moths


Back in June, Mark & I were lucky enough to go on a course about Day-Flying Moths run by Dave Grundy at Whixall Moss in Shropshire.  It was a great day - we learnt so much, both in the classroom and out searching for moths and their larvae on the Moss.  We were lucky enough to see several Argent & Sable moths, as well as setting up pheromone traps for Clearwing species, finding Bagworm (Psychidae) cases on leaves and netting Nettle-tap (Anthophila fabriciana) on nettles.


Bagworm Case
Since then, we've been much more avidly searching for moths, rather than just waiting for them to come to our trap.  I've searched and searched for a Bagworm case without success yet, but I have found Nettle-tap in various places now.

It has also encouraged us to rear moths from larvae that we have found.  We reared and released a male Drinker moth - Nigel.  Later we caught a female in the trap where she promptly laid eggs. We decided against rearing from the eggs as it is hard to over-winter the caterpillar, so we put them somewhere suitable & hope they will develop safely.  And a few weeks after his release we think we might have caught Nigel himself again - a little worn around the edges.

We might try some pheromone traps ourselves next year & will definitely try to rear more leaf-miners.

 
Drinker moth larva -" Nigel"

"Nigel" newly emerged












Now that I am keeping my eyes open, I see so much more.  I regularly litter pick in our area, which is a great opportunity to see what wildlife is lurking in the undergrowth (as opposed to the depressing fast food wrappers and variety of drink containers).  I have seen some fabulous things - in one litter pick I disturbed a Mother of Pearl (Pleuroptya ruralis), found a Leopard Moth on the road, and then, on hearing a commotion in a wall of ivy, saw a Large Yellow Underwing emerge with a shrew in hot pursuit. They were both surprised to see me - the shrew shot back into the ivy and the LYU flew off to fight another day.

Litter picking Leopard Moth


So I've learned it's not all about what you find in the trap!



Thursday, 24 August 2017

Pont Llogel moth event

Checking the species at the table
As the Pont Llogel event approached the weather had been very mixed, but the forecast was for a reasonably dry Saturday evening, and thankfully, that’s how it turned out. We had a couple of light showers while setting up but, thereafter, the evening was dry and the temperature held up, with it not falling below 12c.

Those of us with kit arrived on site by 7:30 giving ourselves plenty of time to sort out where all the traps
Blue-bordered Carpet
were going and to set up. We switched on the lights by 8:45.

Ruby Tiger
A Flame Carpet and a Green Carpet were first up, swiftly followed by a Common Marbled Carpet. The latter species
Checking the traps
started a bit of a workshop on the best ways to separated it from the more uncommon Dark Marbled Carpet, and by the end of the evening both species had been recorded. Soon after, we managed to record our target species, the Barred Chestnut; at least eight of these were seen throughout the evening.
Barred Chestnut

Other species of note were Devon Carpet, Blue-bordered Carpet, a very splendid Old Lady, Beautiful Snout and Clay triple-lines.
Green Silver-lines larva

As usual, the micro moths were much thinner on the ground than the macros, but we did manage to record 17 species, the best probably being a very fine grass moth, Catoptria margaritella.
Canary-shouldered Thorn

                                      No migrant species were recorded at this event.

Black Arches
Typically, as the event drew to a close and we were packing up, the usual flurry of species were added to the list as we emptied out and switched off each trap; these included a Broad-bordered Yellow



Pale tussock Larva
Underwing
, Garden Carpet, Pebble Hook-tip and one of the best species of the evening, a Wood Carpet. For a full species list please click here.
Cake Galore at this event!
               




  
Old Lady

Many thanks to those who brought and helped to set up the kit. We had cake galore thanks to Sue for bringing chocolate cake, (thumbs up from Paul), and Douglas who brought cinnamon apple cake, both of which were devoured with great relish.


Peter.

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Micro?

This tiny little creature (4mm) unfortunately came in on some washing from the garden and was accidentally killed. Is it possible to tell from the photo what it is?

Thanks, Tammy


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Public mothing event at Pont Logel SSSI



Hello Moth-ers,

This Saturday, 19th August, the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) is holding a public mothing event at Pont Llogel SSSI, situated just north of Llangadfan, in the north of the county. This excellent riverside site has produced some superb species lists for us over the years, so please come along and join for what promises to be an tremendous evening’s mothing.
Full event details are:-

Venue: Pont Llogel SSSI
Target species: Barred Chestnut
Event Date: Saturday 19th. August
Meet Time: 8:00pm onwards at the bridge car park.
Directions: On the A458 just north of Llangadfan take the B4395 which passes through Pont Llogel, the car park is next to the river bridge.
Grid Reference: SJ032154

Montgomeryshire Moth Group (MMG) is an independent voluntary group of people interested in moths. All ages are welcome to attend events whether experts or beginners.
This year all the events are light trapping events. We set up the light traps at dusk to attract moths and then release them after identification.
As with all our evening events, please bring a torch and wear suitable outdoor clothing.
You are welcome to join us for as much of the evening that suits you, we are likely to stay for several hours. However, in case of cancellation, due to poor weather or unforeseen circumstances, always ring or e-mail to check the event is on before joining us.

Peter.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

Identifying the 'autumn thorns' - PDF

As we near the end of summer, the orange-coloured thorn species become common across the county. Identification is not always straightforward and in 2014 I made a PDF highlighting the best ways to separate this group. It is available to view here.

It is one of a number of ID documents available in the 'Articles & reports' section of the website.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Cors Dyfi - 07/08/17

One of three Rosy Marsh Moth
I headed to Cors Dyfi reserve on Monday night; armed with 7 traps, which I spread across the car park and boardwalk.

I recorded just shy of 100 species. This included the 5th county record of the 'Red Data Book' Rosy Marsh Moth, a species associated with bog myrtle that is probably breeding at the site. Another good macro was Dog's Tooth: the 3rd county record and the first since 2004.

There was a good selection of wetland species including Round-winged Muslin, Crescent, Bulrush Wainscot, Southern Wainscot, Marsh Oblique-barred, Bactra lacteana, Chilo phragmitella and Orthotelia sparganella. The heath traps did very well with Oblique and Devon Carpets.

Images from the site and some of the moths caught, along with the species list can be found below:

Cors Dyfi - 07/08/17

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Report: moth event at Centre for Alternative Technology - 22/07/17

View over the quarry
The Centre for Alternative Technology (www.cat.org.uk) in the far west of the county owns a significant area of land, much of which is managed with biodiversity in mind. Following successful events in the past, we descended on the site last Saturday with eight traps. The trapping area is mostly mixed mature woodland, and is adjacent to a disused slate quarry, which offered some stunning views as the sun set.

As well as gathering valuable records, events are an excellent way to raise awareness about moths and it was, therefore, great that many of the 27 people who turned up were completely new to moths. We caught an excellent selection of 'crowd-pleasers', including Black Arches, Rosy Footman, Elephant Hawk-moth, Buff Arches and Large Emerald, which I'm sure represented an excellent introduction to moths.

Barred Carpet (photo: GO)
Shortly after turning the lights on, I potted two Nationally Scarce species from the white sheet: Barred Carpet and Devon Carpet. At an event held at the site in 2015, we found the former to be very common with over 10 individuals being caught. We recorded similar numbers this time, and mused it could be one of the best sites in the county for this particular species.

Due to clear skies, the temperature quickly dropped (low of 10°c), however, moths continued to readily come to the traps for the first few hours of darkness. Notable macros found during this time were Satin Beauty, Satin Lutestring, Oak Nycteoline, Dark Marbled Carpet and Tissue, the latter of which we have found hibernating in caves at the site during previous visits. Micros were a little thin on the ground, however, we did record 15 species. Scoparia ancipitella, Agonopterix conterminella and Hypatima rhomboidella were among the most notable. The full list of species seen is available here.

We began to pack up the traps at around 12:30, and were able to add a flurry of species to the list, including Garden Tiger, Northern Spinach, Dotted Clay and Slender Pug. Despite the cool conditions, we recorded a total of 76 species. One can't help but wonder what interesting species might have come to light had it been warmer - we'll just have to return again!

The link below contains more photos from the event:
CAT MMG moth event - 22/07/17

Douglas.