Saturday, 24 December 2011

Morben Moth-ers - A Tale of 2½ Years

Before Ann and I attended the Cors Dyfi moth evening in July 2009 we could barely tell a moth from a butterfly, let alone a Plume Moth from a Pebble Prominent! However, that evening sparked an increasing interest in moths, and with Peter’s help we identified 83 species that year at our holiday park next door at Morben Isaf.

For 2010 we acquired two traps – a Robinson for use at home in Wolverhampton, and a Skinner for use at Morben Isaf. That year, once again with Peter’s unceasing help, we recorded another 183 species, taking the site count to 266.

Our recording at Morben Isaf includes the Skinner trap and the walls of the campsite toilet block, which has lights on all night. Early this season we often found many moth wings on the floor by the loos, but unusually low numbers of live moths, and we couldn’t understand why – surely March and April was too early for bats? Then one morning we discovered an enterprising Chaffinch perching on a door handle then flying up to pick moths from the wall. Thief - pinching our moths before we could get to identify them!!

This year, despite the ravages of the Chaffinches, we accumulated over 2000 records at Morben Isaf (1800 macro and 200 micro) and identified another 58 new species, raising the site count to 324. These included first county records of Argyresthia pygmaella and Hedya ochroleucana, but this latter has unfortunately since been discounted after consultation with “higher authorities”.

As Alan reported in his blog, we did indeed catch an Acleris cristana in November. We also recorded an Anacampsis populella at Morben Isaf a couple of weeks after Maria’s new county record for the species. Other highlights included firsts (for us) of Common Lutestring, Oak Eggar, Oak Nycteoline, Yellow Horned and the stunning Scallop Shell; we finished the season off at the end of November with a handful of Scarce Umber, just to keep Peter W. happy!

Happy mothing to you all in 2012 - Peter.


  1. Some lovely moths there, a few I haven't seen.

    Well done on such a productive year.

    And Merry Christmas!!

  2. You've done a great job at Morben ISAF during the short time you've been trapping, but I believe your site still has many 'mothy secrets' to reveal, keep up the good work in 2012.


  3. What lovely photos Peter. And what a terrific haul for 2011. Would be interesting to hear how Morben compares to your Wolverhampton catches.
    All the best Alan