Gifts of the night.

It has been painfully hot here. My garden has had to fend for itself, as going out in the sunshine has been impossible.  Luckily we are on holiday and can sleep the heat of the day away and get up before dawn, open up the house and let in a breath of cool air.

My moth trap has been on almost every night and a wonderful range of visitors has appeared to be sorted over in the pearly morning light before the sun races up over the hedge.

I have been trapping for more than 10 years now and I never cease to be amazed by the diversity and beauty of the moths that I find and how they vary with the seasons.   I have identified more than 160 species of moths just in my back garden over the years and 67 species this year so far. Every time I open the trap there is a possibility  that I will find a moth that is a  totally new record for me and that is a real thrill. I send all my records into my local wildlife society on line and it surprising how under recorded French papillon du nuit (butterflies of the night) are.

The photo at the top is a lovely large emerald that fluttered out of the  trap onto the lawn.


And this beast is a privet hawk moth.

As they say in the film credits “no animal was hurt in the making of this blog” and all these gifts of the night fly away after identification.

Who knows who will arrive tonight?


14 thoughts on “Gifts of the night.

  1. Cheryl Capaldo Traylor says:

    Moths are so beautiful and unique. I’m not sure why they often sit back seat in comparison with butterflies. I like that you have this disciplined focus on one area of wildlife, while still appreciating the entirety. I often think l, what is a main focus for me? And then I come up with too much! Neat photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jet Eliot says:

    Really enjoyed hearing about your moth trap events, Cathy. And the two moths you have featured here are beautiful. Since you have been doing it a very long time, would you please share with me the best kind of set-up for a moth trap? I believe I mentioned earlier, I was just getting started on a moth observation set-up when we were interrupted by wildfires and a subsequent year of displacement. Alas, our black light, tarps, clips and even the folding chairs we sat in were all incinerated in the fire. It was rudimentary, but entertaining. So I have to start over. But your experiences and posts have inspired me, and I’d like to try again, because we were learning so much about our night visitors. Can you please point me to a post of yours or weblink with information on how to make a moth trap and what tools and activities it entails? No worries if that’s not possible right now.


  3. shazza says:

    I too would love to know what kind of moth trap you use? I heard of a relatively simple way of attracting moths. Ropes soaked in a cheap red wine hung on a tree branch? Have you heard of that ? X


  4. Flighty says:

    Lovely post and pictures. Considering how many moths there are it’s a shame that they’re so under-rated compared with butterflies. I hope that it cools down soon for you, I’d find such temperatures totally unbearable. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  5. tanjabrittonwriter says:

    That’s an astounding number of different species, Cathy. I can’t tell one moth from another (well, I can, but I don’t know their names at all), but I always find it fascinating to watch them swarm our camping lantern when we light it during camping trips. The emerald is particularly lovely.

    Liked by 1 person

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