I have a new obsession. The BBC are showing a TV programme at the moment called Springwatch. We watch it every year, as they highlight the wonderful wildlife around the UK. At the start of the series they showed some British moths. We have been thinking for a while how cool it would be to get up close to moths, so last Monday we ordered a moth trap from Anglian Lepidopterist Supplies. With my birthday coming up soon it seemed like a great gift. It came within 2 days, so we rigged it up straight away to use on the first night. With expectations set low, in case we caught nothing, we went down the next day to be pleasantly surprised.
We had actually caught quite a few. This gave me the opportunity to use my macro lens. My parents got me this for Christmas, and I am really grateful, as it has already had a lot of use. It is pretty much my go-to lens for any kind of plant portraits, and as the name suggests, comes into it’s own when you want to get ultra close-ups. The highlights from the first night were a:
Buff Ermine. These must be fairly common around here at this time of year as we caught quite a few on both nights. The one in the photograph is actually from the second night. By this time I had had the idea to place them on a log for prettier backgrounds than an egg-box.
I had no idea what this one was but uploaded it to twitter and someone helpfully identified it as a Sallow Kitten. What a cool name for a great looking creature.
The above it’s not a great photo, but a cool looking moth. A Grey Dagger. It didn’t stick around to long after we opened the trap.
This is a Small Magpie, again it didn’t stick around long.
This was from the second night and is my favourite by far. It is a Buff-tip. It has evolved to look like a twig, and is incredibly effective.
Below is a Lessor Swallow Prominent. Another favourite. I love the colour contrast between the whites, blacks and browns.
We also had a Poplar Grey, which as you would expect is very grey. By far the most common moth that we caught each night was the Heart and Dagger. We had these in double figures on both nights.
On Saturday we went to our local bookshop and bought the Field Guide to Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. It has illustrations and information on every single ‘macro’ moth seen in the UK. We have already used it to identify others that we caught. It is actually harder than you think to search the internet for a moth, as describing in words many of them can be very tricky. So hopefully it will be an invaluable resource.
Overnight showers have stopped us putting it out since Thursday night. But hopefully it will clear up soon so that we can keep collecting. The great thing is that you get different moths all year round so we should get a variety as the seasons progress. By the way we did manage to catch quite a few other moths some of which were so frisky that they flew off as soon as we opened the trap, so we will never know what they were. Those above that I photographed were the more docile ones. In fact most of them were still there in the afternoon, only flying off when it got dark.