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Things can only get Better.

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

Mothing this year had not been particularly good but the weather began to improve towards the end of May and I had this really crazy idea of doing 3 moth nights in a row. I thought afterward I must be mad but wanted to try in my Village on the 26th, John o Gaunt Golf Club on the 27th before I moved and Wicken Fen on the 28th with a public demo on the morning of the 29th. The title of this blog was appropriate as you will soon find out.


The Craft - Guilden Morden Fri 26th May 2023:


Previous village moth nights here had proved popular with 30-40 species but what was tonight going to bring? the answer was not a lot. The weather was not ideal with clear skies and temperatures on the rather cool side. I ran just 1 trap, a 50w MV, and I recorded just 7 of 6 species of Moth.

Aethes smeathmanniana 1

Treble Lines 2

Shears 1

Garden Pebble 1

Buff Ermine 1

Shuttle-Shaped Dart 1

Garden Pebble and Buff Ermine


I also had 2 traps running at the golf club overnight and was in early to check them:


20w Actinic Trap:

Poplar Grey 1 (see photo )

Common Swift 1

Shuttle Shaped Dart 2

Swallow Prominent 1

Treble Lines 2




125w MV

Lunar Marbled Brown

Waved Umber

Clouded Border

Common Pug

LBAM

Shuttle Shaped Dart

Common Wainscot

Light Brocade

Treble Lines 2

Scorched Carpet


John o' Gaunt Golf Course Sat 27th May 2023


I was really hoping for a good night on what would would be my last night trapping here for a while before I moved jobs to Woodhall Spa in Lincolnshire. I had 2 traps set up in the normal place by the tractor sheds which would be left on all night and 2 traps out on the course at either ends of a woodland and not far from the brook.

It was a slow start on the course but I ended up with 19 moths of 11 species, an improvement on the previous night in the village but still below what I would expect at this time of year.

Moths recorded over both traps:

Common Swift 5

Silver Ground Carpet 3

Common Carpet 2

Brimstone 1

Pale Tussock 1

Green Carpet 1

Treble Lines 2

Common Pug 1

Turnip 1

Willow Beauty 1

Common Wainscot 1




Green Carpet, Silver Ground Carpet and Common Swift


Once I had packed up on the course I headed back to the tractor sheds for a quick check of the 2 traps where I found a Bordered White in the 125w MV which was new for the year, before I tried to get some sleep on my makeshift bed of 2 chairs in the cottage. The following morning I was up early to discover what had appeared overnight. I had managed to add quite a few new species to the overall golf course total from the Sat night.

I added the following from the 2 traps:

Poplar Grey 1

Tawny Barred Angle 1

Light Emerald

Shuttle Shaped Dart 1

Vine's Rustic 1

Setaceous Hebrew Character 1

White-Point 1

Lunar Marbled Brown 1

White Ermine 1


20 species in total from the night on the course and by the tractor sheds. A few pics:



Tawny Barred Angle, White-Point and Lunar Marbled White


Wicken Fen Sun 28th May 2023


I was hopeful of a good selection of moths on the 2nd visit of the year to Wicken Fen. Surely things would be better tonight.


The weather was not ideal at the start of the evening with quite a breeze blowing when we all met up at about 8pm. I was joined by Steve Green, Mark Ward, Adrian Matthews and Lois Clarke. We had a scout around to decide where we would put the traps (a mixture of MV and Actinic). Myself, Lois and Steve were set up around the car park, visitor centre and near the cafe and Adrian and Mark were over by the outside education area. It wasn't really dark till nearly 10 but we managed to get 2.5/3 hrs trapping in. The wind did drop but it remained cool.

By the end of the night we had recorded just 38 species over 7 traps, pretty poor numbers for a place like Wicken Fen but the conditions were just not favourable as was the case recently in a lot of places. We did gets some good moths though that we could show the visitors the following morning when the reserve opened. 3 of the traps were left running all night, What extra goodies would we find? Read on to find out. Here are a few photos from the night:



Photos from top left: Green Carpet, Cinnabar Moth, Pale Tussock and Burnished Brass


After only about 3hr sleep (in my car) I was up at 4.15am, first thing was to switch off the remaining moth traps and cover them up before I made myself a strong coffee to keep me going for the busy morning ahead. It was a beautiful morning looking over Sedge Fen, listening to the birds singing.

After a walk around I gathered all the moth traps and set them up on a table by the visitors centre ready for when people arrived at 9am when i would open up the traps to see what else we had caught, a few surprises waiting for us I hope.

The morning turned out to be very popular. We had a total of 4 Eyed Hawk Moths and 5 Poplar Hawks which were behaving extremely well for the visitors and seemed to be rather attached to me. (see photos)

The Moth man of Wicken attending to his flock below.


When we started opening up the traps we found several species that we hadn't recorded the previous night including Oblique Carpet and Mottled Pug. Below are some photos of some of the moths we caught.

Photos from top left: Anania fuscalis, Small Square Spot, Small Clouded Brindle, Purple Bar, Slow Pug, Reed Leopard, Monopis laevigella, Silver Ground Carpet and Oblique Carpet


Thank you to Adrian Matthews and Lois Clarke for their photos


Below is a list of the species we recorded at Wicken, most at the light traps but some were netted:

Anania fuscalis

Anania microdactyla - netted

Marbled Minor agg.

Burnished Brass

Chilo phragmitella

Cinnabar

Clouded Border

Clouded Bordered Brindle

Common Carpet - netted

Common Pug

Common Wainscot

Common White Wave - netted

Ethmia quadrilella - netted

Eyed Hawk

Ghost Moth

Green Carpet

Light Emerald

Monopis sp. (prob. laevigella)

Mottled Pug

Oblique Carpet

Pale Tussock

Poplar Hawk-moth

Purple Bar - netted

Reed Leopard

Rustic Shoulder Knot

Scoparia ambigualis

Setaceous Hebrew Character

Shuttle Shaped Dart

Silver Y

Silver-ground Carpet

Sloe Pug - netted

Small Clouded Brindle

Small Square Spot

Snout

Spectacle

Straw Dot - netted

Treble Lines

White Ermine


Things had indeed got better by the end of the weekend. Wicken never disappoints, numbers might have been low but we still recorded some amazing moths, I had never recorded 4 Eyed Hawk Moths in one night before, either here at Wicken or anywhere else. I hope you enjoyed this blog/report. Next visit to Wicken will be 11th Aug.













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