After the rather disappointing (in my view) results from my recent moth trapping attempts I made a bit of an alteration to the trap..
I’m sure you’ve noticed already, but if not look a bit closer and you’ll see that I have now added some ‘fins’ around the bulb. Did it work? Best read on to find out…
The theory goes that moths get attracted by the light and end up flying around in a bit of a spin, completely disoriented (or is disorientated) by the light. The idea of the fins is that the moth bash into them, then drop down into the funnel and then into the trap – “simples!” as a certain meerkat might say!
Well, it seems that there is a bit of truth in the matter – as the catch was certainly an improvement, and yielded just what I had been hoping for in the shape of a mighty beast of a moth!
The first sign that things were looking up was the sight of a willow beauty on the fence panel when I went out. Not in the trap of course, but also not in the belly of the Great tits either for a change!
I was rather surprised to find a cinnabar moth in the trap. I don’t think I’ve ever had one in a trap before and certainly haven’t seen any flying around here during the day..
The star of the show was the biggest by far. An eyed hawkmoth, measuring about 4 cms across its wings, was sitting quite happily in the trap (don’t ask how I knew it was happy, but I just like to think it was happy!) and didn’t attempt to make a move while I carefully took it out of the trap and placed it on a rock for a snap. It did flick its wings open to reveal the ‘eyes’ – so I guess maybe it wasn’t overly happy after all!
I put it on a leaf of a buddleia to allow it to settle and decide what to do for the day. It obviously didn’t make its mind up – as it stayed there all day, and didn’t leave the spot until 10pm that night!
There was another mighty beast, almost on a par with the hawkmoth.. A maybug (also called a cockchafer) was settled in the trap. They look like proper critters and rather fearsome, but are more like lumbering work horses! Their feet are amazingly sticky(?) in that they can cling to just about anything and the ridges on fingers provide excellent grip! I managed to get a few pictures of this one before he decided it was time to move on. It was like watching a convertible car opening up! The wing cases moved over, the wings opened out and then off it went, up into the trees to probably frighten the life out of a poor great tit youngster!
What else was there.. Brimstone moth, Light emerald, purple thorn, dark arches, four-dotted footman plus the usuals from previous nights. All in all, a pretty good haul of moths. My favourite wasn’t there though – it’s still a few weeks before they turn up. Of course, that will merit another blogpost!