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A Wicken Mothing Adventure

Updated: Dec 10, 2022

In the last 12 months I have had several mothing nights at Wicken Fen by the main visitor centre with traps set up around Sedge Fen and also 1 night at Reach on National Trust Land (You have to apply for a permit to be able to moth trap at Wicken Fen)

(Check my previous blog on the website: Wicken a land of Moths and Magic)

But Wicken's land extends a bit further to Burwell Fen + Adventurers & Baker's Fen and this is where I wanted to survey for moths next as it hadn't been trapped for sometime so would be really good to see what was about. Check this link for a map of the area:

I met with Ben Sale, Steve Green, Mark Ward, Leslie Gardner and Lois Clarke at about 8.30 on Saturday 23rd at the Adventurers Fen Car Park. It was warm but a bit breezy. First step was to decide where to put the moth traps so we took a walk around to have a look. Harrisons Drove was between Adventurers and Bakers Fens and if you walked down it would eventually bring you round to Wicken itself. We were able to drive part way down and park up.

My 50w MV trap was set in front of the hide overlooking Baker's Fen, Steve Greens Twin tube synergetic trap was behind the hide on the footpath and Marks 125MV trap was on the track underneath a bridge. Ben went further down Harrisons Drove with 3 traps - 160w Mercury Blended Trap, 125w MV Robinson Trap, 250w MV Clear Robinson Trap.

My trap sheltered from the wind in front of the hide produced 59 species of Moth.

I had some pretty good moths inc 3 Garden Tigers, one of which was a very Brown specimen with not much White. See 2 comparison photos:

Some more photos of moths from my trap:

Yellow Shell, Gold Spot, Dewick's Plusia

Some moths were netted along the side of the track such as this Herald Moth:

Steve Green's twin tube synergetic had around 40 species but caught what was probably the best moth of the night. A Marbled Clover! On Butterfly Conservation's website it is classed as rare and in the Red Data Book of rare species.

Mark Ward's trap was a bit exposed with the wind where it was situated under the bridge but still managed to catch 74 species. Here are just a few:

Borkhausenia fuscescens, Ancylis apicella, Eucosma obumbratana (photos by Mark Ward)

As well as all the moths, my trap seemed to be pretty good at catching other insects too. Have a look at the photos below to see what was attracted to my MV light: (There were lots of these spiders inside and Outside the hide).

Roesel's Bush Cricket, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Short Winged Conehead and Walnut Orb Weaver Spider.

One of Ben's MV traps (photo by Ben Sale)

Ben had 3 traps running including his mega 250w MV, It's like a lighthouse of the fens. He recorded 173 species over his 3 traps, below are some photos of some of them:

From top row left to right: Udea lutealis, Sitochroa palealis, Scrobipalpa acuminatella, Red Underwing, Dog's Tooth, Crescent and Brown Veined Wainscot (photos by Ben Sale)

Least Yellow Underwing, Bulrush Wainscot and Goat Moth (photos by Leslie Gardner) last photo of Goat Moth by Mark Ward.

Below is a link to download the list of species we recorded on the night, a huge total of 210 with just a few to add from Gendets.

Download XLSX • 15KB

All photos in the blog are taken by myself unless otherwise stated.

Wicken Fen and the surrounding area truly is a most remarkable habitat. The moths we caught on the 23rd represent just a small portion of the amount of species recorded there. This type of habitat must be protcted for future generations to enjoy. When you have time, pay Wicken a visit and see what you can find.

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