Seaford Head Nature Reserve

/ in Field Trips by Marek
Landscape shot from the cliffs of Seaford Head, looking out over the sea.
Where have all the people gone?

Although we are not aligned to any organization or moth group we still like to know what moths other people are recording in Sussex.

We do this by keeping an eye on the Sussex Moth Group Website.

It was during one such visit early in the year that I came across a retweeted article by the group regarding a study made on the numbers of Barred Tooth-striped moth at Seaford Head.

The tweet included a picture of the team, who I have removed, taken at dusk equipped with torches and butterfly nets in preparation for their survey as it was used for location purposes only.

I know this area quite well having made numerous visits seduced by the spectacular views of the Seven Sisters.

We decided to use this location for our next field trip in the hope that we may just stumble across a new record unlikely to visit our garden as their habitat is restricted to sheltered bushy places on the downs.

There is a car park for the nature reserve and although not the easiest to find provides ample car parking space and the benefit of being near the top of the cliff.

We decided to follow an inland path towards Seaford from the car park returning via the coastal path keeping an eye out for the area used for the survey.

It was only on our return trip that we realised we had chosen the wrong direction, but we had had such a good time that returning for another visit was not going to be an issue.

On our second trip we knew exactly where to look and did in fact see our quarry as we walked through the bushes but were unable to take a picture as It refused to settle long enough.

It was only during a heads up with my youngest son that weekend having relayed the activities of our recent field trips that the only way to achieve this record would to be to visit one evening around dusk with torches.

I was quite surprised at his response of ‘What a good idea dad, me and my girlfriend can come along to see the views as the sun sets and you can buy an Indian on the way home’.

Well I could easily supply the torches and I was not unfamiliar with being in the driving seat when an eating out plan was hatched.

We decided on the evening that suited us all and set off on what turned out to be a bit of an adventure really.

We knew where to park, the area to search and the methodology of achieving our goal so what could possibly go wrong

Well next time I think we may consider that a howling wind could be a bit of a spoiler as although we did see one moth during our visit it was not exactly flying but more like wind surfing making it impossible for any identification.

We had given it our best shot and will return hopefully next year older and wiser to this method of gathering records.

Nighttime shot of people holding torches
Holding a torch for someone

Although we had been unsuccessful in our quest it did not spoil our meal or the evening out and we do now had stories to tell.

Not surprisingly the wind lasted well into the following morning.