The biggest moth trap?

Today we met up with some friends at Houghton Hall, which is between Wells and King’s Lynn. We’ve been a couple of times before because they have some amazing art installations and an annual temporary exhibition of works by a different featured artist each year. The current featured artist is Sean Scully and there were some fascinating stacked sculptures in the grounds of the hall.

Two of the Sean Scully sculptures at Houghton

I saw good views of common buzzard and red kite from the grounds, but the main wildlife excitement of the day was provided by fungi and moths. Brenda will talk about the latter later!

There were some really interesting fungi around, and so I spent a little time getting some decent photos and then a bit more time trying to identify the specific species later.

fly agaric – a fairly common and very poisonous fungus
This small but rather lovely fungus cluster is – I think – a type of bracket fungus called smoky bracket
I think this is one of the waxcaps – but I’m really not sure!

What I did realise is that there are a lot of fungi, and that without knowing what to check for they can be very hard to identify after the event!

Brenda writes: “After a drizzly night I didn’t expect much in the moth trap. Large wainscots seem to be less bothered by unpleasant weather and there were 6. There were 7 other species in ones and twos including a late flying nutmeg. I last recorded one on September 3rd. Today we were at Houghton Hall with some friends to see the Sean Scully exhibition. I love the juxtaposition of modern and traditional with the art set in the context of a stately pile surrounded by formal gardens.

One of the Sean Scully exhibits inside Houghton Hall

Moths, however, continued to be a topic for the day. Houghton Hall have significant formal box hedges and we had a conversation with some of the gardeners about the dreaded box-tree moth.

Box tree “boulders”

There is also a permanent art collection which includes a particular favourite of ours – “Waterflame” by Jeppe Hein.

The amazing “Waterflame” installation at Houghton (above and below)

Sitting on the wooden benches of “Skyspace: Seldom Seen” by James Turrell, and looking through the square hole in the ceiling at what was today a section of grey sky Steve suddenly said to me, “There’s are moths on the wall above your head.” And there was a barred sallow and a satellite, after which we discovered a merveille du jour and a blue underwing. The exhibit is basically a large square “tree-house” with a hole in the ceiling and lighting around the insides…..Could this in fact be the largest moth trap in the world?”

A blue underwing in “the biggest moth trap”!

No new species for October 12th:

Birds = 223
Moths = 250
Wildflowers = 289