Broadland Group Moth Night

Blog post by Jerry Simpson on 07 Oct, 2021

Norfolk Wildlife Trust's Broadland Local Group recently enjoyed a moth night at our Hickling Broad reserve, an evening which saw the members exploring the vast range of moths that can be found at this time of year. The group's chairman, Jerry Simpson, has shared a few details about what the group discovered.

The Broadland Group of the NWT hold an annual moth trapping event at Hickling Broad nature reserve. Usually this is held in the summer months of July and August but, due to the Covid-19 pandemic this year, the event was put back until early September. The purpose of the moth night is to try to introduce people to the world of moths and to show them that not all moths are boring, brown insects!

Burnished brass moth by Jerry Simpson

Burnished brass moth by Jerry Simpson

On the evening of the event, we had three traps of differing types set up around the vicinity of the main car park and visitor centre and were pleased to welcome 17 visitors, several of whom were new faces to us. After an explanation of how the traps worked and some health and safety advice had been shared, our visitors were able to roam between the traps whilst the trappers put individual moths into plastic pots for everyone to examine at close range.

We had bright green moths in the shape of Green Carpet, Light Emerald and Burnished Brass, as well as yellow coloured ones in the form of Straw Dot, Brimstone and Large Yellow Underwing. We had the wonderfully named Tree-lichen Beauty, Setaceous Hebrew Character and pinion-Streaked Snout, but the most popular moth of the night was a pristine example of a Magpie moth.

Burnished brass moth by Jerry Simpson

Centre-barred sallow moth by Jerry Simpson

In total we found 54 species, ranging in size from tiny micro moths like Plum Tortrix to larger varieties like the Copper Underwing, and were very much able to prove that moths are far from boring.

The lights of the moth traps always attract a few other species of insects too and, whilst I was pleased not to have attracted any hornets, it was still a surprise when a Great Silver Diving Beetle (Hydrophilus piceus), one of Europe's largest beetles, dropped into the trap.

Our local groups provide a fantastic opportunity to get involved with Norfolk's wildlife and conservation, explore your local area and meet new people. We have eight active local members groups which are closely involved in wildlife issues in their area and which meet informally throughout the year for talks, walks and social occasions. Find out more about the groups and how to join here.

Header image: Burnished brass moth by Jerry Simpson

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