Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Mothing at Derwenlas 2011- A Tale of Two Traps.

As I sit in our cottage in Derwenlas writing this, wondering if the Winter Moth will visit the kitchen window again tonight, I thought I might give you a little background into my introduction to the world of "moffing". Two years ago, at this time of year I ventured into the attic to retrieve the Xmas decorations box and discovered what I later realised were hibernating Herald Moths. This was obviously an omen, as I received a Skinner Trap from my daughter that Christmas. And so began my introduction into the world of mothing and with copious amounts of encouragement and help from Peter I have just completed my second year here at Derwenlas. For me one of the significant events this year has been the purchase of a second trap which now means I no longer have to transport the kit 70 miles every time we go home to N.Wales. The contrast between the 2 traps is proving quite interesting. In N.Wales I trap in a small enclosed garden in a semi rural village. Here at Derwenlas we have no garden to the rear and the trap is set out on a small area of decking but this looks across the fields down to the R Dyfi and across the road is a hillside covered in mixed woodland. Montgomeryshire certainly produces larger and more varied catches but in N. Wales I have a few species I have yet to find at Derwenlas. Most notable are probably the Juniper Webber, Meal Moth and this year Cabbage Moth and this autumn Feathered Ranunculus.

Out of my 950 records this year, 608 are from Derwenlas and my "total species caught" has risen to 277. [Plenty more to go for then!] Among the more notable ones I have had to trouble Peter with are Incurvaria oehlmaniella, the second record for Montgomeryshire and the first since 1978, the Northern Rustic, and Acleris cristana. Interestingly it seems Peter [B] also caught A.cristana on the same night at Morben Isaf about 2 miles down the road from Derwenlas. Some of the more memorable moments include the Scallop Shell which had me chasing around the nettle field behind the cottage like a demented greyhound before finally surrendering its identity. {I definitely need a "Douglas" net.} And of course the Fox Moth which chose my specimen pot to lay her eggs. These duly hatched in about 3 weeks and then followed many trips for my "babies" to and from N.Wales with supplies of fresh bilberry, until I finally released them in a particularly tasty bilberry bush above Derwenlas to fend for themselves. I hope we might meet again in my trap in 2012.

Which just leaves me to wish all my fellow "Monty Mothers" a Merry Xmas and a successful 2012 season. And now for my letter to Santa- a copy of "Bird Dropping Moths" would be very welcome.

All the best



  1. Ho, Ho, Ho, Santa here!! I'll see what I can do about your book, great report by the way - must fly now, but beware of deer droppings!!

  2. Great picture of Puss Moth Alan, a nice novel view!

    The 'bird-dropping book' is great, hope Santa brings it for you!!

    Happy Christmas!!