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Marvellous Moths

The warm weather we've enjoyed over the last few weeks has led to the long-awaited and overdue explosion of many species of moths taking to the wing. Fortuitously, this also coincided with the biodiversity monitoring workshops we ran in collaboration with St Michael's EcoChurch team for all seven classes of St Michael's school as part of Churches Count on Nature week. As part of this event we set up a Robinsons moth trap in the churchyard for three nights (This is essentially a UV light suspended above a big tub containing empty egg boxes for the moths to hide in once caught).

We have identified 43 species of macro moth (there were also a handful of micro moths) caught in the trap. The diversity in size, shape and colour was simply amazing ranging from the incredibly camouflaged Buff Tip which resembles a twig to the impressive size of the hawk-moths, some of which easily filled a child's palm. The wonder and excitement on the children's faces (and some of the adults) at what was caught was brilliant.

Most moth species are only on the wing for a couple of months a year and so the species being attracted to moth traps in any given habitat changes continually over the course of the year. In order to obtain a more complete picture of the moth species using the churchyard and as a way of continuing to celebrate these amazingly beautiful insects living in our village we have decided to launch a monthly moth catch on the first Sunday of each month in the churchyard. We will be opening up the tub and attempting to identifying all species present from 9am each month and would like to welcome anyone who is interested to join us, no previous experience necessary. Those of you enjoying the monthly Four Barrows bird walks will note that moth catches will be on the same day but will not overlap for most of the year.

The fist of these marvellous moth monitoring sessions will be Sunday 4th July 9am in the churchyard. We'd love to see you there!

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