21 June 2014: Mothing Morning at Cholsey

Leader: Tony Rayner

It was a lovely Summer morning as we arrived at the Red Lion car park in Cholsey, walked the little way to Tony’s house and then gathered in the arbour for our Mothing Morning. Richard Lewington joined us, so we were in the presence of experts to identify what had been caught in the traps overnight. There were three traps to open, which we worked through systematically over the following hour and a half. The arrangement of the traps was interesting and new to some of us. Two were of the Robinson type and the third was an older-style Skinner trap. Used with powerful mercury vapour lamps, they have a one-way lobster pot like system, with the captured moths concealing themselves in cardboard egg boxes in the bases of the traps. Tony and Richard identified the moths as we worked down through the egg boxes and there were indeed a huge number of moths – macro and micro.

At first, of course, it was the large spectacular macro moths which caught our attention - Elephant Hawk Moth, Eyed Hawk Moth, Small Elephant Hawk Moth, Buff Tip and Swallowtail. But as our eyes keyed in we picked up more and more of the subtlety of the patterning, identifying features and beauty of them all – large and small, macro and micro. We were also amused by the exotic popular naming of many species – Setaceous Hebrew Character and Uncertain included.

We did see very many species – sixty-three in all – listed below. After the Mothing, we strolled through Tony’s meadow which was looking glorious in the sun, full of flower. Also we had a quick look under the galvanised sheets for reptiles and were treated to several slow worms and two grass snakes. We finished up with lunch at the Red Lion. What an excellent morning out.

Thank you, Tony and Richard, for guiding us, and thank you, Ro, for providing us with welcome refreshments at half-time.

Moths:

Beautiful Hook-tip, Bloodvein, Blue-bordered Carpet, Bright-line Brown Eye, Brown Rustic, Buff-tip, Buff Ermine, Brimstone, Burnished Brass, Cabbage, Cinnabar, Clouded Border, Clouded Silver, Common Emerald, Common Footman, Common Marbled Carpet, Common Pug, Common Wainscot, Common Wave, Dark Arches, Double Square Spot, Elephant Hawk, Eyed Hawk, Fan-foot, Flame, Freyer’s Pug, Gold Triangle, Grey Dagger, Heart & Club, Heart & Dart, Large Nutmeg, Large Yellow Underwing, Lychnis, Light Arches, Light Emerald, Marbled Minor, Middle-barred Minor, Mottled Beauty, Mottled Rustic, Peppered, Phoenix, Plume, Poplar Grey, Privet Hawk, Riband Wave, Scorched Wing, Setaceous Hebrew Character, Shark, Shears, Shoulder -striped Wainscot, Silver-ground Carpet, Small Elephant Hawk, Small Magpie, Snout, Spinach, Straw Dot, Swallowtail, Treble Brown Spot, Treble Lines, Uncertain, Vines Rustic, Willow Beauty, Yellow Shell.

Hugh Summers