Bird's Eye View of Bute

Garden Tiger Moth

Garden Tiger Moth
Garden Tiger Moth

 


The Garden Tiger Moth.
The first time that I saw one was on a fence post at Lochly Cottage at Loch Fad.
As it is a night time flier, it was sound asleep, but was not in very good condition, not with injuries, but with folded wings that had not opened properly when it emerged from the chrysalis. They were a crumpled mess at the ends, making flight very hard, in fact I would be surprised if it could fly at all. It may have even climbed up the fence post to escape danger from the ground .
I did not disturb it , in the hope that its wings might eventually straighten out.
They are lovely moths with dark brown blotches on the forewings, and dark-spotted orange hindwings, which are concealed unless moth is disturbed., and if so produces a clear yellow liquid from two ducts just behind the head.
“That was many years ago, and I have only seen a few dead ones, or the remains of them, since then, until I was invited to the Bute Forest to check on the results from two night traps set the previous evening by Glyn and Dawn Collis the moth experts”
I was uplifted at 08-45hrs the next morning and headed to the forest. We unloaded his vehicle of the paraphernalia, that was required for that day. A net to catch any moth that attempted to escape identification. ( which was used only a few times) and jars with lids, to put the moths in to be identified. At that point Craig Borland the Editor of the Buteman and others arrived.
All unloaded , then the traps were brought into the shed . These are plastic, and the base one is like a very big bowl about two feet across with egg boxes at the bottom that give a bit of shelter and rest for the moths. The top part is cone shaped , and holds the light fitments that attracts the moths, and then progress started. Right away, one moth made a getaway at great speed, but too fast for the net to be used. Another tried but was caught , then one did not fly upwards, but down and across into a good hiding place, never to be seen again.
Dawn was ready with her clip-board to enter the names of them, and Craig and myself ready to get images of them. Craig first then myself, better to have two cameras taking shots.
Well as they continued to extract more moths, it was all hands on board .. Some were very easy to film as they stayed still, but others were a pain in the neck, and would not make it easy for Craig and I, and for Dawn and Glyn, but they are used to doing this,as they they set traps all the year round ,but mostly where they stay, in the winter..
Well the work carried on between having sips of tea that Dawn had made. Soon it was cold tea.
Although there was not hundreds of moths it still took a good while.
The highlight of the day was when they identified a first for Bute as you may have read in the Buteman. . That one alone made the day worthwhile.

Norrie Mulholland


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