Monday, June 15, 2009

The "Moth Ball"

The evening of Saturday, June 13, 2009 I had the pleasure of attending a delightfully informal event christened the “Moth Ball” by host David Small and his wife, Shelley. The site of this outdoor gala was their home in Athol, Worcester County, Massachusetts. I was among several honored human guests, all anxious to meet the nocturnal Lepidoptera that we hoped would be dancing under the blacklights.

Unfortunately, the weather was patently awful, raining incessantly all night long and into the following morning. No worries, though, as many moths, and other intriguing insects, showed up anyway, and all the people found plenty of entertainment indoors getting to know one another, perusing David’s library, looking at online moth websites and photo galleries, drinking, eating, and occasionally braving the elements to see new arrivals at the lights.

David has a great sense of humor, is laid back, and was always looking to make his guests comfortable. Shelley must have stocked the place with every beverage known to man, and then made strawberry shortcake. We were all well fed and watered. David and most of the guests are “amateur” naturalists, each with their own specialty and command of that group of organisms. Most of them knew far more about moth identification than myself, and I learned a great deal.

Some folks stayed overnight and were treated to comfortable sleeping accommodations and a fantastic breakfast the next morning. Many of the moths apparently liked the place well enough to hang around themselves, or else they had hangovers and were sleeping it off.

Someone made a rough tally of the lepidopterans seen over the prior evening and that morning and it totaled over sixty species, bad weather and all.

For a peek at the more interesting moths snapped by the paparazzi, please visit my companion blog, Sense of Misplaced, and keep an eye out here for additional items related to the Moth Ball. Better yet, hold your own event. It is a sure cure for the summer doldrums.


  1. I tried to leave you a comment the other night but I dont think it went through. Anyway, I wanted to welcome you to Amherst. I did my grad degree there (worked on fly feeding phys. with Dr. Stoff) and really came to enjoy being in the valley there. If Rodger G. is still there doing his PhD in the ent dept you should stop by and meet him, he is a neat guy. Also, keep your eyes open above the library...peregrines usually have a nest up there and take out pigeons over the pond. Check out the Hanger for the honey bbq wings, they are the best.

    Ive been meaning to pick up the new Kaufman guide to insects but haven't had a chance. I have the bird guide and love it. Very cool to stumble across your blog.


  2. Kelley: Thank you so much! Should you find yourself back here before Christmas, please look me up:-) I'm living in South Deerfield, but in Holdsworth Hall during weekdays. I really appreciate the tips on barbecue wings and peregrines! Sounds like you know me already.


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