Mothing malarky at Loch Leven NNR

There’s been plenty of night-flying life around at Loch Leven over recent weeks.  Our pals over at RSPB were lucky enough to catch a Bedstraw Hawkmoth last night- apparently the first confirmed record of recent times, and what a fantastic species it is!  The photo is taken from RSPB Loch Leven’s Facebook page.

Bedstraw Hawkmoth - Brian Innes

Bedstraw Hawkmoth – Brian Innes

Last weekend reserve staff were joined by local moth recorder Tim Brain, and a couple of moth enthusiasts for the second in our series of three scheduled moth trapping evenings at various locations around the reserve.  Having already trapped near Factory Bay back in April, this time we set up a couple of traps near the beach at Findatie.  Always good to get there in time for sunset, not least for the obligatory sunset shot, but also because a number of carpet and pug species will usually become more active early in the evening too.

Sunset from Findatie

Sunset from Findatie

Green Carpet Moth

Green Carpet Moth

It wasn’t long before both traps were brimming with activity, and it wasn’t just moths coming down to the bright lights.  The unidentified critters lining the outside of the traps had the most fantastic antennae.  Thoughts on identification would be appreciated at this stage folks!

George and a busy trap

George and a busy trap

P1040538

Although photography is difficult on a night like this, I did my best to get record shots of as many of the 68 species that were caught that night.  Here’s a selection of the best ones:

Shoulder-striped Wainscot

Shoulder-striped Wainscot

Double-lobed

Double-lobed

Six-striped Rustic

Six-striped Rustic

Orange Swift

Orange Swift

Light Emerald

Light Emerald

The following two were truly spectacular, and unfortunately the photos do not do them justice- the bright green of the Large Emerald, and the splendor of this Ghost Moth were a sight to behold.

Large Emerald

Large Emerald

Ghost Moth

Ghost Moth

Gothic

Gothic

Burnished Brass

Burnished Brass

Barred Straw

Barred Straw

Antler

Antler

Identifying micro-moths is another ball game altogether, with many more species than their so-called ‘macro’ cousins.  George has now managed to identify them.  He also mentioned that the Beautiful China Mark has an interesting early larval stage, spending part of its life as a caterpillar under water.

Plume moth sp.

Plume moth sp.

Beautiful China Mark

Beautiful China Mark

Yesterday it was back to our normal Wednesday morning routine of checking the trap from the night before, rather than chasing them about in darkness until the wee hours in the morning.  One advantage of this is that photography is usually much easier in daylight, although a smaller haul of species is inevitable, with 76 individuals from 15 species being recorded.

The first image of the Broom Moth also offers a shameless plug for Scotland’s Charity Air Ambulance, for whom my friend Andy Walker is a paramedic.  Any donations gratefully received through their website!

Broom Moth

Broom Moth

Large Yellow Underwing

Large Yellow Underwing

Dark Arches

Dark Arches

Dotted Clay

Dotted Clay

Burnished Brass

Burnished Brass

Common Rustic

Common Rustic

Six-striped Rustic

Six-striped Rustic

 Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing

Where there is the potential for catching such a rich variety of moths, there is little wonder that they cause such intrigue amongst people, whether seasoned mothers, or curious beginners.  Whether you would consider yourself  the former or the latter, you should definitely come and join Tim and me at Burleigh Sands on Saturday 10th August from 8.30pm onwards.  It’s National Moth Night, and it’s also the last in our series of scheduled moth nights taking place this summer.  With reasonable weather we’ll be looking at another healthy haul of species, so give us a call if you’d like to come along with us for some of the evening.

About Craig.Nisbet

Reserve Officer Loch Leven National Nature Reserve Scottish Natural Heritage
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2 Responses to Mothing malarky at Loch Leven NNR

  1. Pingback: Rare moth discovery in Kent, England | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Extinct moth comeback in Britain | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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