This year’s Moth event was earlier in the year than the last two and we weren’t entirely sure what to expect. As it turned out: a mild day, just a little cloudy, twenty-four eager moth-spotters, and plenty of moths.
Powdermill Trust’s expert lepidoperist, Ralph Hobbs, had set up his drum’n’light contraption the night before. As we cautiously peeled back the covers on Sunday morning, it was immediately apparent that we had a LOT of Cockchafers – May Bugs… well, of course we did, it’s May! As we delved deeper, we found more than twenty different species of moths, mostly tucked up asleep on the egg boxes that line the drum. The odd one fluttered off, but one of the kids had been put in charge of a moth net and captured them with lightening reflexes. (“Do you play cricket?”) Some of the other youngsters were taking control of May Bugs, creating an Orwellian nightmare bowl of critters.
It seemed that this year’s moths were slightly less colourful than previously. We had a flash of yellow with the Brimstone Moth, a burst of gold with a Matador-esque Micro, but on the whole, a more delicate white/brown/grey palette. Perhaps the stronger colours come out with the summer. We all laughed when Ralph likened one little Micro to bird poo; then gasped when he produced a book that was literally dedicated to moths that resembled bird droppings.
A truly lovely morning, rounded off with a guided tour of Quarry Wood for the uninitiated. This included the newly opened top tier (perfect for birdwatchers up in the tree-top canopy), with new homemade benches; the bluebells (and a few Spanish invaders), wild garlic and early purple orchids; the Ash Die-back monitoring zone; our rather depleted pond, barely more than a mid-summer puddle; and a potted history of the old Crowhurst-to-Bexhill railway line that put the “quarry” into Quarry Wood and gave us our glorious Victorian brick-arch bridge.
Click here for the Quarry Wood Moth Species List.
Photography: Lorna Neville
|Dragonfly Walk 15/07/17||The Story of Crowhurst Nature Reserve|