Peckham Moth Night #1

Of all the insects I have photographed in Warwick Gardens moths have been sadly lacking in my species count. Most moths are nocturnal. I have photographed daytime fliers –  everything from grass moths, clearwings and the ubiquitous Jersey Tiger moth. I needed to sit in the park at night time with a light which somewhat scared me in the middle of Peckham. The solution was to hold a social event – I advertised a Moth Night. So with help from my friends Lou, who came along with lights and a structure to hold a white sheet, and Simon who allowed a long extension lead from his kitchen, we hunkered down with a crate of beer, some books on moths and a camera, and waited for the skies to darken. The turnout was surprising… about 20 of us humans enjoying a balmy evening, sitting on the logs drinking beer and staring at a white sheet waiting to see what arrived. We initially got the lighting wrong and replaced the white lights with a light used for screen printing. Then all hell broke loose – we were bombarded with everything! Bugs, ladybirds, mosquitoes, flies…. and some moths. The moths were mainly small and spectacularly brown, except for the beautiful yellow Brimstone moth. It was hilarious watching everyone scrabble around trying to catch them in jars. Thanks to Mike, who knew something about moths, we were able to identify a few of our finds and I was adding to my species count. We were also visited by a rather gorgeous leafhopper Ledra aurita, which was so bizarre to look at it had us all laughing, and a funky Acorn weevil popped by to bask in the light. And just as we were packing up at midnight a lovely Broad-bordered yellow underwing landed. Moths rock!

We all had a great time. We all learned something new and we all want to do it again. Peckham Moth Night #2 will happen in September.

Photos from the night can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/pennymetal/sets/72157634898865081/

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