Wednesday 30 December 2015

2016 'January Moth Challenge'

Hello Moth-ers,

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 (adults) during January’. As many of you have found out in the past it’s definitely not an easy challenge, but it’s well worth having a go at as it generates many extra winter records for the county when recording is often very sparse. It’s also a bit of fun, have a go, see how you get on, you might surprise yourselves. So go on, dust those traps off and get recording!

The rules are very straightforward.

1) Only adult moths can be accepted.
2) The list of species recorded must all come from one trapping site only (not from multiple sites), although you can send in separate lists from additional sites.
3) Anyone is welcome to have a go at this, whether they are a resident trapper within Montgomeryshire or live/trap from another county.

I’ll ask you all for your results at the end of January (please send your results even if you don’t record ten macro or five micro species, as it all goes towards building the bigger picture), then I’ll post the results on the blog (found in our website, link below) early in February.

All the best and a Happy New year to you all,


Friday 18 December 2015

Mild spell still producing 'out of season' species.

As this mild spell in December continues there are still a few 'out of season species' coming to the traps. On the 15th. I recorded a very early Pale Brindled Beauty and this beautifully fresh latest ever in the year for the county of  Larch Pug, pictured below.


Thursday 3 December 2015

'Out of Season' Species

Hello all,

During this (and any other) mild spell there is always the possibility of recording an ‘out of season’ species, so it is well worth keeping your traps switched on, as you never know what might turn up.

Pictured below is a Dotted Border which I recorded last night which is well outside its normal flight period, beating the previous earliest Montgomeryshire record of this species by six days.

It is also worth mentioning at this point that should any ‘in county’ moth-er record ‘out of season’ species, that they should contact me with a photo of the moth in question. I already allow a few weeks grace either side of normal flight periods, but should a record fall outside these parameters it may not be accepted as a record unless verified with me first. Check the flight graphs on any species page to see whether a record is early or late, thanks.


Friday 30 October 2015

Autumn Migrants!

With a good air flow of southerly winds predicted over the next few days, now would be a good time to target those autumn migrants and with many of our resident species also still on the wing there should be plenty of moth action going on around our traps - so make sure you don't miss out and switch those traps on.


Sunday 18 October 2015

'Sugaring' for Autumn Species

Now that many species of flowering plants are dying off for the year, a rich source of nectar for our butterflies and moths is disappearing and when this happens, this of course means that butterflies in particular and to some degree the moths will disappear – this got me thinking about trying some ‘sugaring’ to extend the period where we can enjoy these beautiful insects.
First off all I had to knock up a delicious sugary substance to attract the insects. There are many different potions and recipes available and some which use secret ingredients, but I stuck with a basic, sweet smelling concoction which certainly works for me. For any of you who wish to have a go, this is what you need to do.

Spraying the diluted sugar onto the dead flower heads
The ingredients
I bottle of stout (or any other beer you’ve got handy)
1lb of soft brown sugar
1lb tin of black treacle

Brick, Yellow-line Quaker and Angle Shades feeding
Put all the above ingredients into a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring at all times to make sure the sugar has dissolved. Then turn off the heat but continue to stir as the sugar will crystallise on the surface if you don’t. Allow the mixture to cool and then pour into a container (a plastic paint kettle for example is perfect) – your attractant is now ready to use.

The conventional way to use this, is to paint it onto fence posts tree trunks and other appropriate surfaces to attract moths, but please be aware not to apply it to anything that you might touch or handle, otherwise you could get covered in this gloop (not very pleasant!). Check the treated areas after dark for feeding moths and other creatures; it seems that just about everything is drawn to it (as you will find out for yourselves if you have a go). It is also a good idea to apply the sugar to the same areas nightly, so that you build up the potency. So far, after doing this for the last
Yellow-line Quaker, Red-line Quaker and Brindled Green
week or so I have recorded; Red-line Quaker, Yellow-line Quaker, Chestnut, Brick, Green-brindled Crescent, Common Marbled Carpet, Brindled Green, Satellite, Red-green Carpet and Angle Shades.  

Red Admiral and Comma feeding on the sugar
However, I had an idea that when the sun was shining that this might attract the late flying butterflies too. I put some of the sugar into a small hand spray, then diluted it down (by about 40 parts water to 1 part of the sugar mixture), gave it a good shake to mix everything up then applied it to the dead heads of several flowering plants, where the butterflies had been coming to the flowers a few days earlier. Almost immediately this worked and a Red Admiral came to feed on a ‘dead flower head’! Since then I have also recorded Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Silver Y moths.

I wonder how long this is all going to work for, especially the butterflies. I shall continue the experiment for the foreseeable future. One interesting thing I have noticed is that on those cold nights (and we’ve had a few recently) when not too much is attracted to the moth trap, there still seems to be a good number of moths coming to the sugar. One species in particular which I seldom record in my trap is the Brick, but I’m now finding this species in much larger numbers every night, I wonder if this will be phenomenon repeated with any other species? The whole sugaring process is giving me much better moth counts every nights and of course there’s always the hope that the sugar will attract an unusual or new garden species for me, so fingers crossed on that one too!


Sunday 11 October 2015


The results from this summer's big butterfly county have just been published by Butterfly Conservation. Judging by their interactive map, there were more counts from around the county than ever before - many thanks for everyone who took part.

The butterfly count may only take place in the summer but there are still butterflies on the wing - please keep making a note of what you see and passing them on to me. For further info on recording butterflies in the county, please see this pdf. Montgomeryshire needs all the records it can get!

Douglas - VC47 butterfly recorder

Tuesday 6 October 2015

‘Mothing and Bat event’ at Coed Y Dinas Nature Reserve - report

This was another joint event with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, and the last MMG event of the year. It was advertised as a family-friendly evening out, and as it started earlier than usual, and the evening was much milder than of late, this may have encouraged families to come along. Whatever the reasons, it was wonderful to see at least 33 people enjoying the evening, including ten youngsters.
 Tammy entertained a large group, quizzing them on their bat knowledge, and then demonstrating the bat detector’s ability to pick up the high frequency calls used by bats, which are normally inaudible to humans. During the evening she located pipistrelles, soprano pipistrelles, and later Daubenton’s bats over the water, much to the delight of her audience.
Peter and his ‘team’ set up 6 traps, with the ‘white sheet’ at base-camp, and 3 Heath actinics and 2 MV Skinner traps around the path which encircles the newly-planted orchard on the reserve. The target moths were the autumn migrants, and the resident Large Wainscot which can be found in reedy ditches at this time of year. 

The hut made a perfect 'base camp'
 After what felt like weeks of clear skies and very low temperatures for the time of year, we were blessed with good cloud-cover and a positively balmy 12.5 degrees C as the traps were switched on at 7.15pm. It wasn’t long before a Pink-barred Sallow was brought in, ‘a little corker’ as Peter exclaimed in his best Yorkshire accent. Certainly this delighted the junior moth-ers, who were soon arming themselves with collecting pots, and rushing off to check the traps. As the evening went on, it was great to see their enthusiasm and interest, as they brought back a variety of specimens for ID, or listened to Peter’s fascinating introductory talk on all things ‘mothy’.

Lunar Underwing proved to be one of the commoner moths of the evening, but others included Common Marbled and Red-green Carpets, Red-line Quaker, Beaded Chestnut, Mottled Umber and the very well-named Satellite. The children in particular enjoyed the attractive colours of the Brimstone and Green-brindled Crescent, and the unlikely names of the Setaceous Hebrew Character and Brick, although they found the name Snout very appropriate. 

Pink-barred Sallow
Barred Sallow

It was good to see another three species of Sallow – the Barred Sallow, Sallow, and by far the best species of the evening, a Dusky-lemon Sallow, which is a scarce and very local species, only recorded in the east of the county in recent times. By the time we packed away the traps we’d reached a very respectable 19 species of macro, including a last minute Brown-spot Pinion, and a 20th in the form of a Scalloped Hazel larva spotted by Gavin. Combined with 5 Acleris species and several Epinotia nisella, we reached the grand total of 26 moth species. For a full species list please click here.

Waiting for moth arrivals in base camp
 But it wasn’t only the moths which put on a performance during the evening – Tammy picked up a ‘non-bat’ frequency/sound on her bat detector, which turned out to be Speckled Bush Cricket. A wonderful green female adorned the outside of our timber base-camp, complete with impressive sabre-like ovipositor, and posed obligingly for photos.

Acleris rhombana
Dusky-lemon Sallow
By the time we prepared to leave the site at 11.15 pm, the temperature was still a pleasant 10.5 degrees – and although we hadn’t seen a Large Wainscot, and in fact had only trapped one migrant, A Silver Y, there was still time for one more first for a MMG moth event – a pair of ‘Large Coppers’ (to quote Mel) eager to see what we were up to!
Peter heralded the whole evening a success, and even a ‘comedy moth night’, but our thanks must go to him, not only for all the hard work in organizing these events each year, but also for the support he gives so freely, and the enthusiasm which tonight inspired not only the ‘regulars’ but also a band of youngsters for whom this might well prove to be the start of a lifelong interest – let’s hope so. 

Sue Southam

Tuesday 29 September 2015

‘Mothing and bat event’ at Coed Y Dinas Nature Reserve

Hello Moth-ers,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) and the MWT are holding a joint ‘mothing and bat event’ at Coed Y Dinas Nature Reserve, just south of Welshpool. This event completes the MMG’s events calendar for 2015 and we are targeting autumn migrant species, along with the resident species of the Large Wainscot. Hopefully, the current dry conditions will prevail and some light southerly winds wouldn’t go amiss, which would push the migrant species towards us. This is your last chance to come to an event this season, so please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this superb wetland site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Coed Y Dinas Nature Reserve
Event Date: Saturday 3rd October
Target Species: Migrant species & the Large Wainscot
Event Time: 6:30 onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: From Welshpool head south on the A490 for about a mile and a half and the reserve entrance is just before the roundabout on the left.
Grid Reference:SJ220051                                                                                                       

All the best,


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.

Monday 14 September 2015

Dolforwyn Woods 'Moth Night' - Event Report

This event was held on National Moth Night, which this year had the theme of’ Migrant Moths’.

The event was also in conjunction with Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust, who were represented by Tammy, who brought an array of electronic devices for detecting bats and identifying other small creatures.

Base camp, as we were setting up
Sighting of the Robinson trap

A total of 8 traps were used, with a white sheet at ‘base camp’ and 4 MV Skinners, an MV Robinson and 2 Heath Actinics being spaced out along the main track. While these were being setup Tammy, after standing for a long time with her head in the undergrowth, produced the first insect of the evening, a Dark Bush-cricket which she had heard chirping deep in the vegetation.

Dark Bush-cricket
Canary-shouldered Thorn

As the light faded Common and Soprano Pipistrelle bats were heard on the bat detectors, and could be seen flying up and down the track searching for insects. Tammy also recorded other bat calls for later analysis including at least one Myotis species.

The first moth of the evening was a Centre-barred Sallow followed shortly afterwards by a Canary-shouldered Thorn, a new species for this site.

Another early visitor to the traps was a hornet. After everyone had a good look she was released, and promptly went and settled on the white sheet, as close to the warmth from the lamp as possible, where she remained for the rest of the evening.

A cloudless sky giving low temperatures meant the number of moths was quite low, but there was a steady trickle throughout the evening. The most numerous species was Common Marbled Carpet, each of which was checked to see if it was a Dark Marbled Carpet, without success The best macros were Pale Eggar and a couple of Hedge Rustics, both new for species this site.

A male Black Arches

Blastobasis adustella
The only migrant species Silver Y
Just before midnight, with the temperature dropping down to 8.2C and little further moth activity we decided to pack up the traps. Final checks of the traps added Flame Carpet, Spruce Carpet, Flounced Rustic (new for the site) and July Highflyer, bringing the total count of macro species to 20. 8 micro species were recorded, including Agonopterix arenella and Eudonia lacustrata, both new to the site. The only migrant moth found was Silver Y; a warmer evening might have produced a few more. For a full species list please click here.

Thirteen people attended the event, and Peter recruited a couple more recorders to help fill holes in the county records database.

Paul Roughley

Wednesday 9 September 2015

Joint event with the MMG and MWT 'Mothing and other nocturnal creatures' at Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve

Hello Moth-ers,

This Saturday the MMG (Montgomeryshire Moth Group) and the MWT are holding a joint ‘mothing and other nocturnal creature’s’ event at Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve, just north of Newtown. The event is also being held on Butterfly Conservation’s ‘Moth Night’ weekend and this year the theme is ‘Migrant species’, and hopefully the current southerly winds we’re having will continue and a few migrant species will be pushed towards us. This is our penultimate event of the season, so please come along and join us for what promises to be a terrific evening’s mothing at this superb woodland site.

Full event details are:-

Venue: Dolforwyn Woods Nature Reserve
Event Date: Saturday 12th September
Target Species: Dusky-lemon Sallow and all Migrant species
Event Time: 7:30 onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: Going north on the A483 from Newtown to Welshpool you will see two signposts for Abermule on the right hand side of the road. Directly after the second signpost take the first left turn, signposted for Dolforwyn Castle. Dolforwyn Hotel is visible as you turn up this lane. Go straight on and follow the lane as it curves right for about 300yds. The reserve track is on the right. Follow the track for about 400yds until you reach a parking area.
Grid Reference: SO158956.

All the best,


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.

Thursday 3 September 2015

Death's Head Hawk-moth turns up in the county

Hello Moth-ers,

I just thought you would all like to know that a fabulous Death's Head Hawk-moth has turned up in the county at Pont Robert in the north of the county. Is was seen and photographed by John King who was spending the bank holiday with is in-laws.

John says:-

"It certainly surprised us. Our 21 month old son was ‘sweeping’ the patio outside the front door and his auntie spotted the moth just before he hit it with the brush. It was in a very exposed location, but the camouflage appeared to work. We kept an eye on it until it was dark". 

A great record John, and only the second time that this species has been recorded in the county since 1967.


Tuesday 25 August 2015

MMG Glaslyn Event - A real 'Dickens' of a night

Well, we kind of knew in advance that the weather was going to be indifferent at best for this event, and pretty awful at the worst, so we were quite prepared for almost anything, but, the tempest which hit us shortly after dusk was very challenging indeed – however, despite all this, we actually had quite a good evening.

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.

No, this isn't the lake - it's the flooded car park!

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.

Neglected Rustic

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.

Twin-spot Carpet

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.

Dark Arches
 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!                  


Wednesday 19 August 2015

Cors Dyfi

On Monday night I headed to Cors Dyfi reserve in the far west of the county, home to the Dyfi Osprey project. I was doing a moth and caterpillar walk at the reserve the following day so I thought it would be nice to have some locally caught moths to show. It was a very still but clear night, which meant cold temperatures. Peter (who I was staying with) joined me for much of the night.

I took 4 MVs and 3 actinics traps, which were run in the car park and along the boardwalk. Despite the cool temperatures, plenty of moths were flying (even in the reedbeds where it was colder still). The actinics were catching a surprising number of the weak-flying geometrids - which were mainly Oblique Carpet, Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet, Devon Carpet and Cheveron.

There were a few wetland species that occur in very few sites in the county, including Chilo phragmitella, Small Rufous and Crescent. Some of the western species included Marbled White Spot, Large Ear and Golden-rod Pug.

It's currently the peak season of Rosy Marsh Moth. Despite extensive trapping over the years, only one has been caught on the reserve in recent years - given the cold conditions I wasn't really expecting it to turn up. At about, 10pm, however one showed up around the car park trap, and another one was seen soon after on the boardwalk. The moth has not been confirmed breeding on the site so these individuals may be wanderers from the nearby large population at Cors Fochno (around 5 miles away in Ceredigion). I feel it's more likely, however, that the moth breeds on the reserve at a low density, perhaps forming a sink population (that is a population that is part of a metapopulation that cannot sustain itself without some immigration from a source populations, in this case Cors Fochno.)

The second highlight of the night was a single Webb's Wainscot - a new species for Montgomeryshire. It was a good night for wainscots with plenty of Bulrush, Southern and Smoky about the site. Webb's is not a species I'd come across before but it must have been somewhere in my mind, as it was my initial thought and I remember asking Peter if Webb's was on the county list. A look with the book confirmed my suspicion and a check of the websites showed it seemed to be moving up the welsh coast.

A grand total of 92 species were recorded, which is pretty exceptional given the cold conditions; about five of these were new to the reserve.

Had it not been for the need to catch some moths to show people the next day, I probably wouldn't have bothered trapping the reserve on such a cool night, however the new county record, Webb's Wainscot, as well as the third and fourth records of Rosy Marsh Moth meant it was very worthwhile indeed.

Follow the link below for all my pics (all taken on my iPhone so apologies for quality). There's also a full species list:

Cors Dyfi - 17/08/15

MMG mothing event at Lake Glaslyn on Saturday 22nd August

Hello Moth-ers,

Our next mothing event is this Saturday (22nd August) at Lake Glaslyn Nature Reserve. This is an upland site in which heather is the predominant plant species and we are targeting several moorland species (which are listed below), some of which are very rarely recorded, so don’t miss this opportunity to possibly see a few of these. If you’ve never been to one of these events before, treat yourself, please come along and join us, for a great night’s mothing, who knows what might turn up!

Full event details are:-

Venue: Lake Glaslyn Nature Reserve
Event Date: Saturday 22nd August
Target Species: Northern Rustic, Neglected Rustic, Heath Rustic, Small Autumnal Moth, Striped Twin-spot Carpet and Acleris caledoniana.
Event Time: 7:30 onwards, at the reserve car park.
Directions: 2 miles west of Dylife, on minor Staylittle to Machynlleth road.
Grid Reference: SN830942.

All the best,


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.

Please note that some sites are not easy to find, so please make sure you know where the venue is before you set off.

Friday 14 August 2015

Hafren Forest: good moths, shooting stars and a bawling hedgehog

119 sp recorded at Hafren Forest, with 71 of these being new to 10km square. Site is typical upland broadleaved scrub habitat with lots of coniferous forest nearby. The best moths included Barred Carpet, Dotted Carpet, Triple-spotted Pug, Larch Pug, Anomalous, Monochroa cytisella, Zeiraphera ratzeburgiana, Catoptria margaritella and Spilonota laricana (new county record).

Having worked my way round most of the least well recorded 10km squares in VC47, SN88 (where Hafren Forest is located) was one of the few left which has had very little summer trapping, with just over 100 species recorded in total in the square prior to my visit. For the trapping I found a nice spot along the road with plenty of broadleaved trees, breaking up the vast areas of conifer plantation. Clear skies meant a fairly cool temperature - dropping to 7c - but at least it was a still night (though that did allow the midges to be seriously annoying).

A good selection of species were caught including all the usual western stuff. The best moth was a single Barred Carpet. Also interesting was a Dotted Carpet. The best micros were a pair of Spilonota laricana. The first county record. A species which is rather difficult to ID, and therefore has probably been overlooked in the county previously.

That night was also the peak of the perseid meteor shower. Way up in the hills, there is no light pollution (except for my traps!) so there were some seriously spectacular fireballs. Despite being so rural, I wasn't the only one watching the shooting stars. On such a still night sound travels extremely well and every time a particularly bright meteor shot overhead I could hear a distant chorus of 'oos' and 'ahs' from a group of stargazers - who had climbed atop the other side of the valley (about half a mile away).

Packed up and left the site around 4am. Not long after leaving site I ran over a hedgehog (dont' fear - it went between the wheels). This happens surprisingly often - they just seem to aimlessly sit in the middle of road, invariably just after a blind bend. Stopped to usher it to safety only to find it was making an astonishing racket - just like a young baby crying at full volume. Presumably a distress call. (youtube 'Hedgehog crying' and you'll see what I mean!). Once it realised there was no threat, it unrolled itself and toddled off into the hedge.

For a few pictures from the night, plus the full species list, follow the link below.
Hafren Forest 12/08

Tuesday 11 August 2015

Moth humour

At the weekend just after we arrived at our caravan at Bala we found a dead Brown House-moth in the bathroom.  A bit later while relaxing in the lounge with a glass of vino, another Brown House-moth buzzed past us.  Without a moment's thought, my wife Ann said that I should try to pot it and take it to the dead moth in the bathroom in order to try a bit of
"moth-to-moth resuscitation"

Brown House-moth (Hofmannophila pseudospretella)

Monday 10 August 2015

What a lovely thought.

I have just recieved a very nice handmade thankyou card from two people (Debbie and Gabrielle) who attended the recent CAT event and I thought you all might like to see it and the note inside it.

A beautiful handmade card
With a lovely note inside

Thank you so much Debbie and Gabrielle for this - a few kind words always go a long way.


Friday 7 August 2015

Mothing Event at CAT, 01-08-15

During Saturday we had many heavy, prolonged showers, which, the met office had said would dissipate by late afternoon, and as it turned out, this is exactly what happened – everything pointed towards a dry and fairly mild event with the potential for a good species list.

Unloading the kit from the landrover on the lower trapping level
 Douglas, Peter, Alan and myself arrived onsite by 7:15 pm to set up the kit. The first thing we had to do was to transfer Douglas’ kit into my landrover because to access the trapping site we had to get the kit up a very steep, rough track, no place for an ordinary car. The trapping site was above the old quarry, it was basically on two levels therefore we were all going to get plenty of exercise checking the traps during the event. On this occasion we were using ten traps so the trapping area was very well covered with the traps available. With the kit all set up, as we waited for dusk to arrive, we all dived into our tuck bags to fuel us up for the evening’s proceedings.

One of the Skinner traps
View of the quarry from the trapping site

The pool above the quarry
A view showing the scree covered hillsides

No sooner had the lights been switched on when the first moth arrived at the table – and what a moth it was, it was the ‘nationally scarce A species’ Barred Carpet. We couldn’t believe our luck, but that was only the start of it – by the end of the evening our disbelief grew and our heads shook more each time as we saw at least ten individuals. It was an astounding haul of this scarce species. And seeing so many at each visit to the traps we feel there was, in all likelihood, many more. Indeed, on one visit to a trap someone exclaimed ‘Oh what’s this one?’, so, Douglas replied ‘Oh it’s just another Barred Carpet’!

The 'Nationally scarce A species' Barred Carpet

During the evening we were kept very busy with exactly 100 species being recorded. The more notable macros were : - Satin Beauty, Satin Lutestring, a lovely Scalloped Shell, Northern Spinach, Yellow Shell, Beautiful Snout, Dot Moth, Minor-shoulder Knot, the uncommonly seen Bordered White, and finally, a stunning and very uncommon Beech-green Carpet.

Scallop Shell
Beech-green Carpet

Notable micro species were: - Epinotia brunnichana, Eudonia ancipitella, Argyresthia laevigatella and Coleophora flavipennella and the rather lovely looking species of Scoparia pyralella and Catoptria pinella. 

Celypha striana
Argyresthia brockeella

No migrant species were recorded at this event. Full species list can be seen here.

Later in the evening Douglas took out some home made cake – he said that due to the recent dearth of good mothing conditions at home he had plenty of time on his hands and therefore he’d been trying his arm at baking, and I must say, we all enjoyed the three cakes he brought along – as they were all were devoured in no time – ok Douglas, no need for a baking CV, you’ve got the job for future events!

By about 1:45 we decided we had all had enough so we started to pack away the traps systematically checking them and one at a time, it was about 3:00am when the last trap was shut down. It had been a long, but very fruitful event – the recording of all those Barred Carpets will certainly stay with me for a long time –  even now, I’m still shacking my head!