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!



  1. What a brilliant night I missed! Thanks for the report Peter- all very exciting, including the good news that there's another cake-maker!

  2. Thanks Sue - as regards the cake issue, I wouldn't want you to think that you're job as cake maker has been usurped, so please carry on the good work - I wouldn't want to flare up a ' mothing cake war'!!