Each year, while many of our festival-goers can be found dancing away across our venues, wandering the site or tucked into the corner of a bar tent or tea tipi, there's another space, where the emphasis is on observing nature's wonders.
Our moth-spotting tent does so many things. It gives you space to connect and identify some uniquely beautiful insects; it encourages nature-connectedness; it's a fantastic activity for those who want something different from music; and it helps us monitor the impact of our festival, in one way, on the ecology around us.
The team have sent us a lovely report which we thought we'd share, so if you missed them, you can see what they found and what it's all about. Enjoy!
Compiled by our moth-spotting team: Lydia Crimp, Tom Tibbits. Nova Hespera, Laura Laker
We undertook 4 mothing sessions this year. One on Tuesday 1 st August, ahead of the festival opening and the other three on the Thursday, Friday and Saturday of the festival. Each session was conducted from 10pm- midnight with the exception of the Tuesday session which we had to end half an hour early due to rain.
This year we switched location from next to the Soundscape stage to the area just to East of the Permaculture area. With the large old oak nearby and the expanse of bracken we hoped the more diverse habitat might yield more varied species. The space is also quieter which suited the vibe of moth spotting better!
We struggled a little with the varied weather conditions this year. Our preliminary mothing evening (pre the festival opening to the public) had perfect conditions- warm with cloud so we saw an excellent variety of moths. Light rain ended our session 30 min early but we still saw 22 species in an hour and a half. Friday 4 th had similar excellent conditions and this was by far the most successful night with 36 species recorded. The other two nights (3 th and 5 th ) were much colder with clear skies
and not ideal for moth spotting hence the lower numbers.
Moth species diversity
Over the 4 sessions we had a total of 52 different species of moth with a further 6 inconclusive identifications. Of the 52 positively identified moths, 12 were species that were also recorded in 2022. Although there was nothing super rare this year, there were some lovely examples including a pair of ‘Large Elephant Hawk’ moths on the Tuesday night. Other highlights were four’ Oak hook tips’, all around the lamp at the same time and a pair of very pretty red ‘Ruby tigers’.
Impact of the festival on moths
Although the weather was a little too erratic to draw any true conclusions, the results we did get would suggest that the festival has a very limited impact on the moth population. Had the weather conditions allowed us to carry on for the full two hours on the Tuesday night, I think it is reasonable to expect that we might have managed to get the species numbers close to what we saw on the Friday night where we had 36 species.
Engagement with festival goers
This was our most successful year to date in terms of visitor numbers. On the Friday night we counted over 60 people at the busiest point. We also had a visit from the Devon County moth recorder who knew a lot about the micro moths which we have thus far been unable to identify (we specialise in macro). This helped boost the number of species seen from last year!