NMN banner – the Death’s Head Hawkmoth photo (sadly) isn’t mine!
Today (and yesterday) is (was) National Moth Night here in the UK, a two-night celebration of moths – surely some of the most under-appreciated insects on the planet. Everyone likes butterflies, right? But MOTHS?! Those dull things that fly into lights and get in your hair. No way…
Actually, when you do take the time to look at moths they’re every bit as beautiful and variable as butterflies, and – usually – far better represented in terms of species in most gardens (or similarly easily-accessed piece of land). Here in Great Chalfield (where we moved in the first week of July) I’ve been astounded to have recorded fifteen butterfly species in our garden already. However, in just eight nights of rather amateur ‘mothing’ I’ve recorded more than eighty species! And some of them are really attractive. I’ve posted some of these images before, but there’s no harm in posting them again as they’re so relevant…
Lesser Swallow Prominent
I missed last night’s National Moth Night as I was on a plane coming back from Brazil, but there’s no way I’m missing out tonight! The sun has been out all day warming the air, there is very little wind, and I reckon tonight could be a cracker. A fellow mother is coming over from Corsham (a nearby Wiltshire village), the pizzas are ready to go in the oven, and there is beer and organic ginger beer in the fridge. The neighbours all know that there will be 125Watt ultra-violet lights on in the garden and shadowy figures shuffling around muttering about ‘chestnuts’ and ‘rustics’ and ‘wainscots’…In other words, all that’s missing so far are the moths (but give them about another two hours and they’ll start showing up!)
I’ll post a report tomorrow, but in the meantime, the best of luck to all those of us out in gardens, woods, fields etc burning our retinas and bending our backs to look at the unheralded beauties that we’re all hoping to attract – and let’s make sure that every record of every moth makes it’s way into the national database: like insects everywhere many moths are in decline, and conservation organisations need the data that proves it. Without data policies can’t be made, and it’ll be business as usual until yet another group of species is pushed towards the edge…