Apley Castle Moth Night

I’m sure everyone, without exception, who went along to the moth night at Apley Castle on Tuesday, August 18 would say it was a huge success! Not just for the fabulous moths we encountered but for the almost palpable enthusiasm that poured out from everyone. Just look at the expression on the little girl’s face as she gets up close and personal to a moth in the pot!

Boring? Moths? Get outta here!

It really does go to show that moths are not all brown, furry, uninteresting and a menace when they fly through an open bathroom window when the light’s been left on! Many are really quite pretty with beautiful colouring and markings, like the charming Sallow that poppped in to say hello…

And the Gold Spot which I initially identified incorrectly but thanks to Tony Jacques, the County Moth Recorder for Shropshire, who soon spotted my mistake and put things right! I guess it’s easily done when caught up with the excitement and shared enthusiasm!

Liz then potted up, from Les’s moth trap what was, for many, the star of the show – the huge almost bat-size Poplar Hawkmoth…

First recording

This was the first time an organised moth-trapping event had taken place at Apley Castle with its widely diverse habitats of meadow, woodland and pools, which is why we were all very keen to run the traps here as we felt that species would be pulled in from all 3 habitats. We were right!

The elements were kind to us

The weather throughout the night was almost perfect; no rain, no wind with around 60% cloud cover and in terms of numbers of moths I certainly had a personal best for my trap with well over 200 moths across 30 different species not including the tiny micros of which there were scores, maybe hundreds!

Species List

The final count across the 4 traps is being done as we speak with the results then to be collated together. I will then send everyone who left an email address on the night a file of the full species count. If you didn’t leave your address, weren’t able to attend or simply otherwise just interested please email me and I’ll send you a copy as soon as it becomes available paulewatts@googlemail.com

Around 30 people turned up on the night with others who just dropped in as they were walking the dogs or just out for an evening stroll.

Five of us – Tony Jacques and 4 members of The Wrekin Forest Volunteers stayed through the night til dawn in order to get a full night’s records as different species fly at different times of the night from dusk to dawn.

Most moths were identified and recorded on site, others were photographed and a handful were taken back home for later identification. All were then released unharmed to go about their business which essentially is to find mates, lay eggs and then die. No different to any other life form really including Homo sapiens!

And talking of dawn this was the tranquil scene looking over Apley Pool in the very early hours of the next morning…

It just remains for me to say a huge thanks to everyone who came along – it was great to see you all there. I also and especially want to thank Jenny Joy from Butterfly Conservation for the loan of the generator, Tony Jacques – County Moth Recorder for his help, assistance and huge experience of moths and trapping and a very special thank you extends to Sean Thomas and his many helpers for organising the event, gaining the necessary permission, creating, printing and placing the posters in the area and for the wonderful and much appreciated magnificent breakfast that was laid on for us. Thanks again Sean and…

We will be back!



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