Wivenhoe Watching Wildlife - MOTH EVENT

Well, the weather seems to be settled at last, and the reports from various moth traps are looking more hopeful, so we propose to hold our first mothing session of the summer this coming Friday 7 June.

Venue: Wivenhoe Wildlife Garden, by King George's Field, just up from the car park (we are grateful to the Montessori School for giving us access to their electricity supply)

Time: the trap will be set at 21h00, moths should start arriving with the onset of dark, and we will be there as long as it is worth it, probably around midnight. We will also have a bat detector to see if there are other moth hunters around!

Do come along if you are interested, and if you can't make it, then we will open the trap and release the contents at 10h00 the following morning. Hopefully we may also have a few moths in pots with us from other garden traps which were run overnight.

Everyone is welcome - it would be a good idea to bring a torch, and if you have a peaked cap, please wear it to help shield your eyes from the very bright light.

NO MOTHS WILL BE HARMED AS A RESULT OF THIS ACTIVITY. Of course, the weather is a fickle thing, so please keep an eye on the forum for any last minute changes of plan.


  • To whet folk's appetites for Friday night, here are a few from my Belle Vue Road mothery this week:

    Pebble Prominent; 
    Pale Prominent; 
    Buff Tip; 
    White Ermine; 
    Swallow Prominent; 
    Iron Prominent; 
    and finally Toadflax Brocade - a serious rarity. This moth has only recently become established in Britain on the Essex/Suffolk coast and up the Thames and Lee Valley. 
  • edited June 2013
    Well, it proved to be a 'difficult' night - a lovely sunny day was due to cloud over at nightfall. But it didn't. So it didn't get dark until very late, and by then the heat of the day had drained away so it was really quite cold. And breezy. All of which, when added to the fact that we are in the midst of the worst year for moths in recorded memory, it is surprising we saw as much as we did...

    Nothing unexpected, but a lovely dark-form (melanic) peppered moth; scorched wing; scalloped hazel,; sycamore; common marbled carpets; and lots of green carpets and treble lines. And in the pots brought down for the unveiling from other local traps, some fine cockchafers (beetles, not moths!), eyed hawk-moth, poplar hawk-moth and cinnabar.

    Full list is below, and a selection of photos (not of the ones we saw last night, but taken by me in previous years).

    Apart from moths, just a single pipistrelle bat (they must be going hungry during this alarming year) and a (well, half a) stag beetle, the first I have seen here this year. Its body had been eaten away, probably by magpies, but it's head and pincers were still  on autopilot.

    Thanks to all who came to watch the mad mothers of Wivenhoe, and especially to Greg, Debs and Dave for bringing down their catches for this morning's session; and to Jo at the Montessori School for providing us with power for the light. And to those who came so far to see us - Mike's Mother from Hexham, but trumped (much to Rosie's disgust!) by Mark and Sue back from California specially for this (at least as we like to think!). Keep your eyes open of the Forum for future moth and other WWW events.



    Wivenhoe Wildlife Garden
    Nematopogon swammerdamella - a longhorn micro-moth
    Common Swift
    Green Carpet
    Garden Carpet
    Common Marbled Carpet
    Red Twin-spot Carpet
    Scalloped Hazel
    Scorched Wing
    Peppered Moth
    Flame Shoulder
    Heart & Dart
    Shuttle-shaped Dart
    Setaceous Hebrew Character
    Bright-line Brown-eye
    Marbled Minor
    Vine's Rustic

    And then additional species from the other traps:
    Garden Pebble
    Eyed Hawk-moth
    Poplar Hawk-moth
    White Point
    Shoulder-striped Wainscot

  • edited June 2013
    A few snaps from this morning of when the moth traps were opened to reveal last night's catch . The moth in the, (not very sharp), close up is the Peppered Moth. Chris explained it was a fine example of Darwinian evolution happening almost before our eyes. For more on what has been described as "one of the most visually impacting and easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution in action"  here's a BBC article about it.

  • This is the cockchafer caught in the trap. Not sure if male or female
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