What a wet night last Friday was!
I think the rain started around 6pm and looked as if it was here for the night but I picked Liz and her moth-trap up at 7pm as arranged and had a brief conversation with Sean at Apley Woods on the way and I have to admit I was all set for cancelling the event. Although moths do still fly on a wet night the numbers are usually much lower and I just felt it might be prudent to postpone to another date.
However, when we arrived I discovered that Tony & Andy were already there with a trap and looking for a suitable tree canopy to set up. I had a wander around myself looking to see if it was feasible. It was still raining when I bumped into 2 people and asked if they were here for the moth night. They said yes! I later found out they were father and son Mike and Charlie here for their first moth night. A few minutes later I met a small group of umbrellas and discovered another happy band of virgin moth-ers sheltering under them.
And still it rained.
Graham arrived with his Heath Trap and more people emerged from the trees as I wandered around so I eventually decided on setting up in what I call the arena area of Apley Woods where once the grand Georgian Manor House stood. This seemed to be an ideal place to set up the traps under the trees that skirt the arena, also giving us space to set up 2 gazebo’s for shelter.
So that’s what we did. We set up a total of 5 traps running off 2 generators.
And the rain continued.
Within an hour we were ready to go and a brief under-the-canvas intro talk by yours truly led to us switching on the generators at around 9:15pm. Olly was on hand to bring a little extra heat to the evening with a much appreciated camp-fire just outside the gazebo’s.
It wasn’t long before the first moth appeared - an unexpected Light Emerald that popped into Tony’s trap. This later proved to be the 2nd most trapped moth of the night.
And still it rained!
On a night where I thought perhaps just 3 or 4 of us might have braved the atrocious weather I was very pleased to see around 20 souls congregating in the gazebos hoping for the rain to stop. So, all things considered an excellent turn-out. No doubt, had it not been for the rain, the numbers would have easily doubled.
But… d’you know what? It was an excellent night. We sat in the dry (apart from anyone who happened to position themselves under the 9” gap between the gazebos!) telling stories and chatting, with Tony, Liz, Graham and Keith bringing in the odd moth either trapped or found venturing out to see what the lights were all about. And still it rained.
And who was the strange hooded dude who arrived complete with a very suspect light sabre? Or was it just a very bright shining lollipop?
Was it Graham I wonder?
What made the night even better though was the food and drink supplied by The Friends of Apley Castle. Thanks guys for looking after us all so well.
The whole event was funded by Telford & Wrekin Council’s ‘£££’s 4 Projects’. So thanks go to all, not forgetting Sean Thomas, of course, for co-ordinating everything so well.
The Wrekin Forest Moth Night at Apley Castle is always one of the highlights of the moth calendar for us and they get better every time. You see so much change here with the careful and dedicated management of the woods, pools and meadow that it can only be a matter of time before it is recognised as a true wildlife haven and receives the designation it deserves. For all who work and volunteer at Apley Woods the increase in flora and fauna shows you’re doing something right! More power to your elbows, legs and backs!
And still it rained.
By midnight most people had drifted back home and then at around 12:15am the rain finally ceased (although it returned through the night)! Shortly after the witching hour the moths started to arrive in slightly higher numbers.
A lovely Peppered Moth dropped by
along with one of my favourite micro-moths - Agapeta zoegana
A couple of Snouts also made an appearance
along with a Clouded Silver and a Brimstone Moth
One of the traps at around midnight
Around 1am Liz and I retired to our tents whilst Olly tended to the dying embers of the fire. As is always the case I find it very easy to sleep under canvas drifting off within a few minutes and waking around 6am to find Liz sitting by the stoked-up and rejuvenated fire. “What are you doing?” I asked. She replied “My tent was leaking so I’ve spent most of the night out here in front of the fire!” I think you’d better invest in that new tent Liz - your beach tent is just not up to protecting you from anything other than the sun and we didn’t see a lot of that!
We opened up the four remaining traps and were surprised to find more than what we expected with a total, including Tony’s trap which ran till around midnight, of 114 individuals across 28 species. Numbers were obviously down from previous years at Apley (800 and 400 approx) but it was more than we hoped for so a good result and an excellent night spent in convivial company and topped off with an excellent breakfast of bacon, sausage and egg butties at Rosemary and David’s. All other trappers were off to Prees Heath early in the morning to watch the Silver-studded Blues emerging so it was just Olly and me who partook of this superb feast. Thanks again you two! You’re the best!
The Top 10 moths of the night were:
Heart and Dart 35
Light Emerald 14
Large Yellow Underwing 9
Garden Grass-veneer 6
Eudonia truncicolella 6
Scoparia ambigualis 5
Peppered Moth 3
Double Square-spot 2
If you’d like a copy of the full list of moths you can download it below and if you’d like to see pics and short info of the moths you can use the search field using either the Code Number or name at UK Moths
Click here for spreadsheet:-
Excel File of Moths trapped
Before I take my leave just a quick mention of Apley Woods’ new website which is looking superb at the moment and I know Sean and his team have loads of ideas to implement which can only make it glow even more. Take a look around - there’s lots to get involved with here!
Apley Woods Website