A night at the 'Moth-era'

November 2017

Helena Gum Moth. Picture: Ken Harris

Winged wonders in focus

Nature lovers gathered at Trafalgar in Gippsland recently for a wildlife after dark experience hosted by Trust for Nature.

Held at the Uralla Nature Reserve, the night featured a torchlight walk through the forest led by wildlife ecologist Dr Rolf Willig and a floodlit moth survey by Ken Harris from the La Trobe Valley Field Naturalists Club.

Mr Harris, who has recorded more than 1,000 types of moths in Gippsland, used a white sheet illuminated by a mercury vapour lamp to attract the insects so they could be photographed.

A highlight of the night was the sighting of a Helena Gum Moth (Opodiphthera helena), Victoria's largest known moth species with a wingspan up to 17cm.

Uralla is one of 44 protected reserves across Victoria owned by Trust for Nature. The 40 hectare reserve is home to a variety of wildlife including owls, bats, sugar gliders and possums.

Ken Harris with a moth perched on his nose

Nature groups welcome new members

Trust for Nature's West Gippsland Regional Manager, John Hick, thanked Baw Baw Shire Council and Friends of the Uralla Nature Reserve for their ongoing support.

Mr Hick encouraged local people to join the reserve's friends group, which always welcomes new volunteers.

Friends of Uralla holds a working bee every second month. To find out more, email

Mr Hick also recommended the La Trobe Valley Field Naturalists Club for people interested in discovering more about nature.

The club meets on the fourth Friday of each month at 7.30pm at the Uniting Church Hall, corner of Old Sale Road and Chamberlain Road, Newborough. Email contact is