Tuesday, 25 July 2017


Hooray! A pug moth which even I can identify. As a rule, I find these little scraps of flying matter an impossible challenge, even since the Leeds Philosophical and Literary Society kindly gave me a special book on UK pug moths in exchange for a talk. But this has to be the White-spotted Pug, wouldn't you agree? I will be plunged into despair if I am wrong.

It was attracted by the lamp which I placed in a rather unusual position after dramatic events two weeks ago when we were in London with the grandchildren. The usual scene of chaos at breakfast was interrupted by a 'phone call from our kindly neighbours saying that power lines had come down after heavy rain dislodged a tree branch in our garden. Said neighbours had been warned not to go to close to the exciting scene because of the presence of 11,000 suddenly liberated volts. I remember reading at university about the Marquess of Salisbury accidentally electrifying the dewy lawns at Hatfield House in the 1890s during the course of the amateur experiments in which he liked to indulge. Luckily that was not the case here.

Southern and Scottish Power were extremely efficient and we subsequently stripped the felled branches into a log pile and this temporary mountain of brash. I can't say that elevating the trap to its proud position on the summit obviously increased the number of moths in the eggboxes. But it looked impressive.

Here are some of the night's other visitors: the first Scalloped Oak of the year, above, and a Gold Spot or Lempke's Gold Spot below. I know the latter has featured here recently, but I can't resist them. Ditto with the Black Arches whose picture comes next, though I have the added excuse of comparing the slightly worn condition of this one with the pristine specimen which came here on Saturday night and whose photo is reproduced below the first one.

Lastly, a humble but beautiful Garden Carpet, and the most appealing of the six different types of the Common Rustic.


Tony Wilcock said...

Hi Martin

Got into moth trapping in the last year and found your blog which I enjoy as not always about the Id.
Just wondering if you have any trouble with cats and your trap.
I use a skinner trap and live in town and though my dog is a sworn enemy of cats they have the run of the garden in the night.
In the morning the Perspex has been bounced around a bit as if cats have been swatting at fluttering moths underneath a bit like the whac-a-mole game!



Martin Wainwright said...

Hi Tony and many apologies for the delay in replying to such an interesting comment. How interesting about the trap and the cats. I've often wondered about this happening, especially as I think - from droppings - that we have a larger visitor at night in the shape of a fox or foxes. But I think that the intensity of the mercury vapour lamp probably keeps them away. I've never used an actinic trap but I believe they are bit less obviously bright, at least to human eyes.

The biggest invader I have ever had has been a robin which somehow got in when the lamp was on. Not many moths the following morning!

All warmest wishes - glad you enjoy the blog. I keep trying to think of ways to refresh it and, to be honest, have rather given up on many IDs as I seem unable to get certain categories (rather a lot I'm afraid) correct.

All warm wishes