In the half century or so of my life up to now I had given very little thought to moths other than as a most unwelcome invader of clothes drawers and annoyingly flying into the hall when the front door opens at night. Louise, one of the Kent Wildlife Trust team who came to survey the meadows is a huge enthusiast though and we were delighted when she volunteered to come down and set her moth trap up in the meadows to see what we’d got flying around at night.
There was a feeling of excited anticipation for the morning with the bright glow of the moth trap coming from the meadows that night in late July. We had a huge haul – 32 species of macro moth and many micro species which I think we never did totally get round to identifying all of them. For me, a new passion was born right there and then and we have subsequently bought our own moth trap and had many more moth nights. I try not to be a bore on the subject but sometimes its ever so difficult because some of the moths are quite extraordinary. My favourite so far? Well, the Elephant Hawk Moth has to be a strong contender, the Magpie is another – but the winner is absolutely the Ruby Tiger because it looked really quite ordinary at first until it opened its wings a bit and we were completely surprised by its stunning bright red abdomen underneath.
A lovely thing about moths is that you dont have to be downcast to see summer ending because there are a whole load of moths species that only start flying in September and October and so there is autumnal excitement to be had with these new moths patiently waiting to be identified by you in the trap in the morning