Monday, 14 July 2014

500 and counting...

I started recording moths on MWT's Cors Dyfi reserve back in 2009 using a simple setup of a battery running an old tube from a fish tank! The first proper trap was soon purchased and the records started to roll in, new species for the reserve and for the county.

Over the 5 years since I started there have been some very memorable nights; ones when hundreds of moths were flying around my head, ones where only 1 or 2 turned up in the trap in the morning, ones where over 900 moths had to be counted, identified and released . I have probably counted well over 60,000 moths since 2009 - moths in traps, moths flying by day, moths resting underneath security lights in the morning, caterpillars, leaf miners, case bearers and moths that turned up in the hands of volunteers and staff wanting to have an identification.

I set myself a target early on, to record 500 moths at Cors Dyfi. Quite often I thought the target would never be achieved, this is after all a relatively small reserve and due to lack of power options I could only set out traps at the top 100 metres  of the site.

I have now reached my target 500 and have actually gone beyond it with 2 new micro moths from my last trapping session and the one prior to it, the total at writing of this blog stands at 503. I have no intention of stopping, maybe by the time I'm 60 there will be 800 moths recorded here - just think, a third of all UK species! That would just be phenomenal!

I've been called Moffboff,  Bug Lady, and am now accepted as Mothy Maria - I quite like the names, they kind of 'define' me.

The 500 mark could not have been achieved without the constant help of Peter Williams who spends endless hours identifying moths for all of us and puts up with endless hours of me harassing him when I want prove identification of a certain species I photographed (does psyche casta ring a bell Peter?) and also a massive thanks to all the volunteers who have helped over the past 5 years, your services are still required!

I've added a selection of photos which are just a few of my favourites and I always love to see.

Mothy Maria
Silver Hook, in the whole of Montgomeryshire, still only recorded ay Cors Dyfi

Numerous, clumsy but always a delight to see the Drinker Moths appearing

Elephant Hawk-moths, you wait for one and then dozens turn up at the same time


  1. Thanks for this article Maria and very well done on reaching your 500 mark - the next 500 species may take you slightly longer to achieve, but it is possible.

    By the way I like your 'mothy' names. I have heard it said that I'm the 'mad moth man of Montgomeryshire', so there you go, you're in select group, with the nicknames.


  2. Great stuff, Maria. Keep up the good work: I think a site like Cors Dyfi could host well over 800 species. :-)


  3. Brilliant, Maria. Many congratulations on reaching 500+. What an incredible amount you've learned in 5 years - there's hope for me yet!