10 moth-ers met up to do some recording at Hen reedbeds, a Suffolk trust reserve. As you would expect the main habitat is reedbed, with areas of wet woodland and more saline habitat close by. 11 traps (5 actinics) were deployed covering both the freshwater reedbed on one side of the road plus the more saline reedbed on the other side. With a heavy shower just before arrival at the site and the temperature dropping prospects were not looking too good for a decent catch.
First species found was a larva of the Starwort, feeding on Sea aster. Reasonable numbers of moths then started to come in, despite the dampness. A check of the traps revealed the same, but it was never going to be a bumper night what with the poor weather for most of August leading up to this meeting.
Highlights amongst the 94 species found included the following. Macros: Saltern ear, Maple prominent, Dotted fan-foot, Oblique carpet (3), Gold spot, Dark spinach (5), Bulrush, Brown-veined, Webb’s and Silky wainscots.
Micros: Monopis monachella (about 6), Eucosma tripoliana and Ancylosis oblitella.
At around 11.30 a few people decided to call it a night and left the more keener moth hunters to carry on. After a short while it was apparent that not much else was coming in so the rest of us decided to pack up just after midnight, going our seperate ways to clear up. This was when the moth of the night was found! Brian had left his 3 bulb WEM light trap running without checking it during the evening. Inside it was a Clifden Nonpareil! All of us present could hardly believe it. This very impressive moth looked huge and flashed its beautifully coloured hindwings while fluttering around the trap. After many photos were taken with phones and cameras the next challenge was to find a pot big enough to put it in! We did have one luckily between us and Brian kindly allowed me to take the moth away to photograph.
So what would have been an OK moth night turned into an exceptional one! Pity the guys who left early missed it, although with the moth certainly resident in parts of the UK now I’m sure there will be other chances for them.