Our woodland rides and glades are managed and wildflowers planted to encourage insects, butterflies and moths. Over the years we have intermittently surveyed macro moths but we began to regularly survey and record in 2014.
During this time we were using a Heath Moth Trap which ran on battery power. As you can imagine this was sometimes a ‘bit hit and miss’ depending on the age of the battery!
Nevertheless we were encouraged with the results and so applied for a grant to invest in a new, bigger and mains powered trap.
This new trap arrived in 2015 in time to try it out in the 5 Acre meadow adjoining the car park whilst there was an abundance of wildflowers and long meadow grass.
The moths are are attracted by the light, enter the trap and nestle down in the recesses of the egg boxes. In the morning the moths are carefully transferred from their hiding places into clear plastic pots of various sizes so they can be examined, identified and recorded. The moths are then released close to their capture point and some loiter long enough to be captured again but this time as a digital image!
Micro moths are now part of our ‘identity parade’ but you need a good hand lens as well as good eyesight!
We are used to seeing moths at home against our windows attracted by our house lights but how many of us realise the vast variety of macro moths and their vibrant colours? We do see some moths during the day such as Cinnabar moths and many of the micro moths. Did you know that one of the micro moth species has bright blue eyes?
Here is a photographic gallery of Gorse Hill moths:
In 2014 over 60 different macro moths were recorded in the heath trap:
Barred umber Beaded chestnut Brindled beauty
Broad bordered yellow underwing Buff ermine Buff tip
Canary shouldered thorn Clouded border Common carpet
Common dart Common footman Common pug
Common rustic Common wainscot Copper underwing
Coxcomb prominent Currant pug Dark arches
Dingy footman Double dart Double square spot
Drinker Dun-bar Early thorn (2nd generation)
Engrailed (1st & 2nd gen) Flame shoulder Flounced rustic
Garden tiger Green brindled crescent Grey pine carpet
Heart and dart Hebrew character Hedge rustic
Ingrailed clay July highflier Large emerald
Large yellow underwing Large wainscot Lesser broad bordered yellow underwing
Lesser swallow prominent Lesser yellow underwing Light emerald
Light feathered rustic Mottled beauty Orange swift
Peppered moth Pinion-streaked snout Plain golden Y
Plain wave Poplar hawk Rosy rustic
Ruby tiger Satin wave Scalloped oak
Scallop shell Silver Y Six striped rustic
Small emerald Small fan foot Smoky wainscot
Southern wainscot Spruce carpet Square spot rustic
Straw dot V pug Willow beauty