James Lowen 


This beauty is Olive-tree Pearl Paplita vitrealis. With shimmery silky white knickers for wings, it is a proper beauty. And it's a proper migrant too. Only the second in Norfolk this year. Even those famed coastal observatories mentioned above typically only get a handful per year. I thought I had seen one before - indeed, thought I had trapped one in London - but my hard drive suggests otherwise, as I would surely have photographed it. So a tick it is too. And that's why I put the moth trap on every night I can.


7 Sep 2017  Pearl of wisdom

I am now in my fourth summer of moth-trapping. I am coming to recognise pretty much everything I catch without recourse to (too many!) books. I am getting to know the ebb and flow of a couple of hundred species. I am getting 'used' to my moths. Too used, in fact. And ever so slightly distressed at the regularity of it all. Accordingly, this year I have finally come to understand the attraction of, and the widespread focus on, catching migrant moths - those that shouldn't be here, rather than those that should. Which means it all the more annoying that 2017 has been pretty rubbish for migrant moths - as far as I can tell. Unlike coastal sites such as Dungeness, Bawdsey and Portland, which can rack up scores of migrants each night, the inland, non-flightpath location of my garden means that any migrant is worthy of note. Accordingly, I cherish each an every Silver Y, Rush Veneer or Rusty-dot Pearl. Catching a Dark Swordgrass is a cause for celebration, Scarce Bordered Straw for jubilation - and I dream of trapping a Pearly Underwing or a Dewick's Plusia. Moths that I thought were migrants - White-point and Mother-of-pearl spring to mind - now seem to be local breeders, and thus of lesser note. Not so another pearl.