Bird's Eye View of Bute

The Six-spot Burnet Moth

(1) Six-spot  Burnet
(1) Six-spot Burnet
(2) Six-spot
(2) Six-spot
(3) Six-spot
(3) Six-spot
(4) Six-spot
(4) Six-spot
(5) Six-spot
(5) Six-spot
(6) Six-spot Mating
(6) Six-spot Mating
(7) Six-spot
(7) Six-spot
(8) More shell
(8) More shell
(9) Shell
(9) Shell
(10) Hands on
(10) Hands on

 

 


Six-spot Burnet Moth.

Last year, Alister Mc farlane and his Nephew went fishing at Glen Callum Bay, and on the way back, they came across this Moth near the Hawk’s neb , so they caught it and brought it to me, and they had already identified it correctly as a Six-spot Burnet Moth.


I took some photos of it then looked up the book to see what they ate, then took it to the nearest plant and released it.
This year I went out to the same spot that they found it, and I saw about five of them. I think that there would have been more, at times there are sheep or cattle in that area, but not often, and as the cocoon that these moths emerge from is at the top of tall grasses, a lot of them may get eaten.
I then went out to Ettrick bay and walked the shoreline to the Straad, and half way there I found about a dozen of them, So I phoned Glyn Collis (The Moth man) to tell him about my find


Soon after talking to Glyn we decided to search in our minds to where we would find similar ground
that is, beside the shores, having long grasses, plus places to hide such as whins and no cattle etc, so my next trip was to the Wee Bay and walk the shores to Kerrycroy
Well, as I was heading towards Bruchag shores, I found a colonly of them where cattle and sheep had no access, and they were flying all around me. I got to a count of 26 then I phoned Glyn then  I carried on,and after about 500 yards I had counted 66 , and I may have missed plenty more.

Next in line was another area that was the same, and that was on the west coast between  the Straad and Ard Scalpsie, Well, I was amazed at what was to happen. Between these two points I counted 111 of these moths, in areas that had no sheep or cattle, and I also got about the same number of a Butterfly that I had never seen before The Grayling, (you will read about that soon)


I was a very good day for me indeed, and I also found a caterpillar that should have be tucked up in bed as it was a nocturnal one, but here it was having a daylight kip.
Back to the moth. The strange thing was that in the cocoon at the top of the grass had strange wee black things with ,what was like tentacles protruding from them, which turned out to be the remnants of the caterpillar that the moth hatched from. They were like something that I had never seen before, so I was to say the least intrigued with this.


Counting so many was difficult as I could not count the ones that was flying away in front of me, as I may have counted them more than once, so I had to count those that passed me, making life difficult to say the least, but I had a great day, and as their life is very short, there is still other areas to check out next year on Bute to see how far they have spread.
 

 

A thing that I nearly forgot is that they make hard work at flying with their wings going like the clappers, yet getting nowhere fast, which makes them easier to follow.


Norrie Mulholland

First Published in the Buteman 18-11-2011

 

 

 


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