Sixteen people gathered at Culbin Forest on the Friday evening in the hope of seeing Kentish Glory despite the cold, grey skies and biting northerly wind. The conditions were looking ominous for a moth-free, and particularly a Kentish Glory free, night. A quick search for moths attracted to the outside lights of the car park toilet block also revealed that it had been similarly cold the previous night, as none could be found – an unpromising start. However, fortunately a quick scout around an area where Kentish Glory had previously been seen before everyone arrived revealed a batch of twenty Kentish Glory eggs laid out neatly in two adjacent rows on the twigs of a c3m high silver birch tree. Also a Goat Moth tree by the side of the track that I had been shown 3-4 years ago was still present. So at least there was something to be seen, albeit it quality and not quantity.
As dusk settled in, the wind dropped and it felt a little warmer although that was comparative as people were still wearing hats, gloves and winter coats. Nine traps were set (6MVs and 3 actinics) and folk gathered around them expectantly, catching up with each other and the latest news. Fortunately the traps were set quite far apart so there was plenty of opportunity to warm up walking between them.
Eventually around 11pm a moth was caught! A Broom-tip, again a quality rather than quantity being a scarce and local species, although fairly widespread throughout Britain in scattered localities. Most people quite rightly soon departed thereafter but the five people that stayed on to the bitter end were rewarded with another moth – a Hebrew Character! So that was it 9 traps, 16 people and just two moths! However, as is the tradition when out trapping and packing up at night, I had driven less than 500 yards from the car park when I saw a moth fluttering inside the car. It was another Hebrew Character the moth tally had increased by 50%!
Kentish Glory eggs (Tony Mainwood)
Examining the eggs (Helen Mainwood)