Posted by: lensweb | August 16, 2016

A Walk on the Wild Side at Trent Lock Canal Festival

THE Canal & River Trust, Erewash Canal Preservation and Development Association and Long Eaton Civic Society held a canal festival at Trent Lock over the weekend of August 13-14. LENS Wildlife Group was invited to host a Moth Trapping evening and a Wildlife Walk.

The water reflected the red sky as the sun set the scene for one of the best summer evenings. Because of the late sunset you would think that we would be on our own but the canal towpath was busy with walkers and cyclists and they all took great interest in our nocturnal activities as we set up the two moth traps.


Some brown moths appeared first which foxed us somewhat but soon we were back to normal with lots of caddis flies, midges mosquitoes and large yellow underwings. In fact these were outnumbered by the broad bordered lesser yellow underwings which have such a catchy name.

We consulted the moth bible which is the Townsend Waring and Lewington Field Guide and named the brown moths which actually appeared golden under the lamp, they were twin-spotted wainscots. It really was a good moth night as the temperature did not go lower than 16C. We had ruby tigers, canary shouldered and dusky thorns, a yellow barred brindle and my favourite, the sallow kitten. At home a rather large moth flew out of my hair, it was a mottled beauty.


The next day we displayed some of the moths we had caught and then set off on the wildlife walk. There was a lot to see as the waterside flowers are at their best. The codlins and cream of the great hairy willowherb, the blue trumpets of skullcap, fluffy pink hemp agrimony and fluorescent orange flowers of gem weed or orange balsam decorated the canal bank. The stems of the angelica flower used to be candied to give a green sweetmeat. But the white umbellifer flower looks so very like the poisonous hemlock water dropwort which is now found along the canal it may be best to give it a miss.


Not every bird swimming on the canal is a duck so I was particularly pleased with a coot who impressed the children with his long spreading yellow toes partially webbed. The cows had mysteriously vanished from the meadow as we crossed towards Fletcher’s pond, which was not looking too good as it was coated with pea green algae. The River Trent floodbanks were pretty in pink with the sweet pea like flowers of spiny restharrow. Wild hops and white bryony garlanded the hawthorn hedge by the river. There was a brown hawker hunting along the hedge by the river and a peacock butterfly sucking nectar from the purple panicles of Buddleja(blame Linnaeus for the spelling).


Back at Trent Lock the Festival was in full swing. We thought the wax figures in the Trent Lock tea rooms had come to life when we met the Hughes and their heavy draught horse Shreck. All the way from France, now living in Breaston, Shreck is a very placid 16.2 hand 11 year old Comtois x Breton.  There were historic boats and floating traders including the Cheese Boat, craft and trade stalls, marching bands, a model warship display, children’s rides and face painting. Not the usual wildlife walk at all but a very enjoyable experience.

Marion Bryce 15 August 2016

List of moths

Abrostola tripartita Spectacle
Acasis viretata Yellow-barred Brindle
Acleris forsskaleana Maple Button
Agapeta hamana Common Yellow Conch
Agriphila tristella Common Grass-veneer
Agrotis puta Shuttle-shaped Dart
Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty
Amphipyra pyramidea agg. Copper Underwing agg.
Amphipyra tragopoginis Mouse Moth
Archanara geminipuncta Twin-spotted Wainscot
Cabera pusaria Common White Wave
Carcina quercana Long-horned Flat-body
Chilo phragmitella Reed Veneer
Cosmia trapezina Dun-bar
Cryphia domestica Marbled Beauty
Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot
Eilema griseola Dingy Footman
Ennomos alniaria Canary-shouldered Thorn
Ennomos fuscantaria Dusky Thorn
Epiphyas postvittana Light Brown Apple Moth
Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet
Furcula furcula Sallow Kitten
Hypsopygia costalis Gold Triangle
Luperina testacea Flounced Rustic
Mesapamea secalis agg. Common Rustic agg.
Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot
Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing
Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder
Phragmatobia fuliginosa Ruby Tiger
Pleuroptya ruralis Mother of Pearl
Plusia festucae Gold Spot
Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent
Rivula sericealis Straw Dot
Xanthorhoe ferrugata Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet
Ypsolopha scabrella Wainscot Smudge


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