Lineover Wood 4

Photo: Bob Wills

After much deliberation this annual event to search for the Plumed Prominent moth duly went ahead on 22nd November at Lineover Wood, near Cheltenham. The target moth will not fly unless the weather conditions are perfect for it – mild, cloudy weather, with a minimum temperature of 7.0 Celsius. The weather forecast didn’t help; it changed almost hourly in the days leading up to the event and even on the day, rain was forecast but also mild temperatures. In the event, the day was beautiful. The sun shone and the evening was dry and mild.

Enthusiasts come from all over to view this moth every year. I think they are just glad to get out and do some field work at what is normally a quiet time of year and fortunately moths fly all year round when conditions are suitable.

Sixteen people arrived at the site from 2.30pm and by dusk, some eighteen moth traps were spread throughout, almost every one sited near a Field Maple tree, the moth’s food plant. For the first few hours, a clear sky and a slight chill in the air rather dampened our spirits. But rain was forecast for late evening and soon the cloud arrived and temperatures steadied at around 9.0C – perfect!

Linover Wood 7

Photo: Peter Hugo

Lineover Wood photo

Photo: Peter Hugo

Lineover Wood 1

Photo: David Sims

Lineover Wood 2

This moth decided to advertise Butterfly Conservation! Photo: Peter Hugo

Guy was the first to see a Plumed Prominent and soon after, several arrived at Peter Cranswick’s trap which was sited at the lower end of the site under a plantation of young Field Maple planted some twenty years ago. Peter was ecstatic as he had always wanted to see this moth but had never, until this night, been able to attend.

As the first spots of rain started at 10.30pm we decided to pack up, having achieved our objective. The public had seen what they came for and we’d recorded five Plumed Prominent, and on the previous evening, both Dave Grundy and myself had suffered very late and very wet nights. This is the earliest we have ever stopped on one of these nights; we normally sit up until almost daybreak.

The final count was 129 moths of 21 species – not bad for this time of year – and we also recorded a rare beetle, Oedemera femoralis, which is Nationally Scarce B.

Another successful Plumed Prominent search – and next year we’ll do it all again, but at a different location.

Peter Hugo


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Written by Peter Hugo