National Moth Night in Pengelli Forest

Last month saw the UK’s National Moth Night take place between the 3rd and 5th of July. An event was organised in Pengelli Forest nature reserve with a keen group of moth enthusiasts from the north Pembrokeshire Moth Group that including Tony Lewis, the county’s moth recorder.

Beautiful Golden Y - Mike Snow

Beautiful Golden Y – Mike Snow

The event started at 8.30pm and finished at 1.30am with weather conditions pretty much perfect for a good showing of moths. A total of four moth traps were used, two Robinson MV 125W traps, one Skinner MV 125W trap and one Actinic 15W trap. One might say that is overkill yet spaced a good distance away from each other, they soon started to show results.

We weren’t disappointed with numbers as hundreds of moths flocked to the light traps throughout the evening and by the end of the event 90 different species were recorded of which 10 were new to the reserve.

The ‘scotch smudge’ (Rhigognostis incarnatella) was of particular interest as to date the only Welsh records were from Newport and Felindre Farchog, areas not too far from the reserve. Pengelli Forest is now an additional site for this moth yet all records for this species still only in exist in Pembrokeshire.

Elephant Hawk Moth - Mike Snow

Elephant Hawk Moth – Mike Snow

Other species noted included the spectacular elephant hawk-moth (Deilephila elpenor) and the beautiful golden Y (Autographa pulchrina). There were plenty of ‘micro moths’ and those of you who know something about mothing will understand how difficult it can be to identify these smaller species. I am just glad that the experts did although there was some minor disagreement at times!

Nathan Walton Wildlife Trust Officer Pembrokeshire