Thanks to our award from the National Lottery Community Fund, we have been able to buy a moth trap so that we can discover which moths are visiting the Community Woodland and other areas of the village.
The group is very grateful to Stephen Locke for researching the most suitable moth trap for our needs and for obtaining a Skinner trap which is lightweight and portable and comes with a rechargeable lithium battery so that we can use it in places such as the woodland without a source of power. It is best set up with a white backing sheet behind it as moths will come to rest on the sheet as well as fly into the trap and can be inspected if the trap is attended or if they are still resting there in the morning.
Skinner moth trap in situ with battery beneath it and backing sheet behind
We are planning to trap at the Community Woodland on a regular basis and at different times in order to ascertain the full range of species at the woodland throughout the year. We will also be keeping an eye on any rotting fruit in the orchard area. The Old Lady moth will come to sugar and so we might also experiment with sugaring.
Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 3 August 2019
The moth trap was set up in the south-east corner of the woodland just off the path near the bird feeders. We ran the trap from 9.30pm to midnight.
The list of moths seen is: Brimstone, Common Carpet, Common Footman, Common Wainscot, Drinker, Flame, Jersey Tiger, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Magpie, Oak/Northern Eggar (female), Orange Swift (male), Rosy Footman, Ruby Tiger (x7 in trap - more were seen but not trapped), Scorched Carpet, Shaded Broad-bar, Square-spot Rustic (18 spp.).
Magpie (photo Stephen Locke 2019)
The ‘big moth’ of the night was Oak/Northern Eggar. The naming of this moth is complex and confusing. Northern Eggars are not confined to the north of Britain and for our purposes can be considered forms of the same species. There are differences in the larval life cycle related to what stage the larva over-winters and in colouration of the adult moth (the guide gives the darker colouration as Northern Eggar). But, whatever the name, it is a fine moth.
Oak/Northern Eggar (female) (photo Stephen Locke 2019)
Numbers of Ruby Tiger continue high. The larva of the Orange Swift lives underground on the roots of vegetation.
Orange Swift (male) (photo Stephen Locke 2019)
Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 25 July 2019 By Stephen Locke
The moth trap was set up just off the path at the front of the orchard at the far end of the woodland. We ran the trap from 9.30 to midnight.
The list of moths seen is: Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Cloaked Minor (f. bicoloria), Clouded Border, Common Carpet, Common Footman (very numerous), Common Rustic, Common Wainscot (numerous), Drinker (several), Dusky Sallow, Early Thorn, Elephant Hawkmoth, Heart & Dart, Ingrailed Clay (prob.), Jersey Tiger, Large Yellow Underwing, Lesser Broad-bodied Yellow Underwing, Lesser Yellow Underwing, Mocha, Purple Bar, Rosy Footman, Ruby Tiger (very numerous - we may have seen approaching 50 - there were a dozen in the trap), Scorched Carpet, Sharp-angled Peacock, Small Fan-footed Wave, Willow Beauty (25 spp.).
Ruby Tiger (photo Stephen Locke 2019)
The moth of the night was Ruby Tiger for sheer numbers, but probably the most interesting moth was a Mocha, classed as nationally scarce B, the third highest category of rarity. The Mocha is very distinctive and so the identification unambiguous. Although a small moth, it has exquisite markings, and its occurrence at the woodland is exactly right both in general and in habitat.
Mocha (photo Stephen Locke 2019)
Report of moth trapping at the Community Woodland, 16 July 2019 By Stephen Locke
The moth trap was set up in the south-east corner of the woodland just off the path near the bird feeders. We ran the trap for about two hours from 9.30 to 11.30 pm.
Many species of moth came to the light, but it was surprising that few species were caught in the trap during this time. Those caught were 6 Drinkers and a Common Footman, but the full list of moths seen in the two hours of trapping was: Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing, Common Footman, Common Wainscot, Coronet, Drinker (x>9), Elephant Hawkmoth, Lappet, Oak Hooktip, Riband Wave, Rosy Footman, Satin Wave, Scorched Carpet, Sharp-angled Peacock and Swallow-tailed Moth.
We also saw micro-moths but did not record them. The Lappet proved to be a female and laid eggs overnight.
Lappet moth (photo Stephen Locke 2019)
Our results can possibly be explained by the fact that moths fly at different times of the night as well as different times of the year, and we might have trapped more moths had we trapped for longer. Some of the more common moths we might have expected are perhaps late flyers at this time of year. It is also possible that our torches distracted the moths from the trap as we saw a good variety while we were at the woodland.
The number of Drinkers was a surprising result. Their larvae feed on tall, coarse grasses and rushes and they prefer damp areas so the woodland is presumably a good area for them.
Drinker moth (photo Stephen Locke 2019)