Be bewitched by moths

52 wild things to do in autumn logo

Tonight the forest is a cathedral. Its perpendiculars are oaks, trunks flushed with white light. Shadowy figures worship at illuminated sheets hung between branches, or crouch over egg-boxes piled inside light-traps.

At the witching hour the gathered supplicants have eyes only for moths, conjured from the trees by these artificial moons. As the insects arrive the wood rings with exotic names: true lover’s knot, small fan-footed wave, the drinker.

An exquisite specimen patterned like old French wallpaper elicits gasps of amazement and is identified as a peach blossom. There’s uproar when a real ‘bob-owler’ (big moth) blunders in – a poplar hawkmoth dwarfing everything else.

Children scurry from trap to trap: who knows what will turn up next? This is bran-tub biology at its best.


Find out more on how to start "mothing".

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