River Otter trip

I took the trap down to the River Otter last night, using a generator for power. Great to have the company of Matt and we set up in a quiet corner by the reed bed at White Bridge on a still, but rather cool, clear night. The temperature was probably just a bit low for a real influx and moths drifted in slowly, mainly Common and Dingy Footmen.

Our main target species were the Wainscots and despite the poor numbers we had some luck. Even before the likely candidates, Common and Smoky, a Fen Wainscot appeared.

Fen Wainscot

The photo is obviously taken this morning in good light, but under torch light in the dark it showed a beautiful silky texture with a subtle sheen to it. Wing shape – relatively wide compared to the length and quite pointed – was also noticeable. In good light the chocolate edging is also very clear:

Fen Wainscot wing detail

After that we trapped a second, along with Smoky and what I think is just Common (R) below:

Otherwise, we were kept nicely busy, though not rushed off our feet with moths including Drinker, Ruby Tiger, Red Twin-Spot Carpet and a few others. But the real surprise was awaiting us!

Packing away, we emptied the trap only to find a moth that, in the dark, seemed black with two white spots that we couldn’t immediately recognise. In the light at home though it turned out to be The Crescent.

The Crescent
Wing detail

Though distributed all along the South coast, this is a nice find for our part of the world, with just a scattering of them in the Devon records over the last few years. Particularly good since we didn’t see it going into the trap!

We plan to try the same spot on a warmer evening in the near future, but for now I’m happy with these two excellent lifers.

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Budleigh Salterton resident; keen birder; moth-er.

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