It was in the summer of 1994 that, due to the requirement for Benno to undertake a school holiday project, I first ran a moth trap in our garden. I'd been living in Kent for less than a year yet, because of time spent with the incredible characters in the original "H" block, that was Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, moths had quickly come into my conciousness. Andy Johnson was probably the keenest of the bunch but, if we needed assistance with an id, the late/great Tony Harman was always in the wings waiting to help us wannabes. So with that as my starting point and Benno needing to return to school (St. Faith's at Ash - which my parents founded) with a project of his choice completed, the garden moths were a gimme? There certainly wasn't a teacher involved who could question the accuracy of anything Benno reported. Indeed, over that holiday period the highlight for us was our first Poplar Hawkmoth, however Tony Harman came round, as he often did for a social, and discovered a Red-necked Footman in one of the pots stored in the fridge awaiting id. Big news back then! Benno's account of the excitement of finding that first garden hawk-moth was well recieved and his primitive artwork only added to the genuine feel for his involvement with the whole project.
|A Least Carpet (Idaea rusticata) on my study window frame!|
A moth which Andy Johnson had gone to great lengths to explain how
restricted was it's distribution in SE England, thus how lucky we were to catch one.
That first season was an incredible period of discovery and a very steep learning curve was embarked upon. That Benno lost interest as gramar school impacted upon his social life and interests, I was left to continue the amazing journey alone, certainly from a garden perspective. Bev and I have run the trap on and off right up to 2016 then sort of lost interest. So why am I prattling on about such things? Firstly, the grand-children finished school today and I'm hoping that moth trapping might inspire them to look at nature rather than be scared of it (parental influence, their Dad is a piss poor excuse of an example where spiders and bumble-bees are involved) Secondly, with retirement, I need to have a reason to get out of bed in the mornings. Emptying a moth trap is certainly one that I've enjoyed previously and showing the odd specimen to the neighbours has always been fun. I'm now in the market for a new trap. Not too sure if I'll get an atinic or an MV, but a trap will be acquired very shortly - any thoughts on the subject would be most gratefully recieved.