Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Sat 17 May 2008 Ballachuan, Seil

A Seil Natural History Group visit to the reserve at Ballachuan to look at, and photograph, moths caught in a light trap by Pete Hardy, who had camped there all night.  The previous Tuesday, Pete had given a talk on digital photography to the group.  He is a professional wildlife photographer and his work can be seen at Pete Hardy Images.  There are many inspiring photos there and he also runs photography workshops.  It was a very exciting experience to see all these moths close to (they are very docile early in the morning) and was greatly appreciated by all who attended.

All identifications are by Pete.  There were some that he couldn't name for certain in the time available and these are indicated with terms such as "probably" or "possibly".  The only exception is the Lesser Swallow Prominent which on comparing the photos with the books is clearly that species.

Selenia dentaria   Petrophora chlorosata   Xanthorhoe designata

Left: the Early Thorn.  Middle: the Brown Silver-line, which is often seen in the day but must fly by night as well.  It's resting in a different posture to the one I showed 2 days ago, and looks a completely different colour which is probably due to the difficulty of photographing deep into an egg-box.  Right: the Flame Carpet.

Colocasia coryli   Cerura vinula   Cerura vinula

The Nut-tree Tussock, which along with the Brown Silver-line was the most numerous species in the trap, and two shots of the Puss Moth.

Lacanobia thalassina   Hadena bicruris

The Pale-shouldered Brocade and the rather similar Lychnis.

Notodonta ziczac   probably Ectropis bistortata

The remarkable Pebble Prominent, whose even more remarkable caterpillar we had back in Aug 2005.  Nice to catch up with the adult moth at last.  The other one is probably the Engrailed.

Biston betularia   Odontopera bidentata f. nigra

The Peppered Moth and the Scalloped Hazel.

Opisthograptis luteolata   Opisthograptis luteolata   Unknown moth

Two shots of the dazzling Brimstone Moth, and a rather drabber one of unknown identity.

Pheosia gnoma   Cabera exanthemata probably

The Lesser Swallow Prominent and a probable Common Wave.

Spilosoma lubricipeda   Lomaspilis marginata

A couple that have previously featured on the site, the White Ermine and the Clouded Border.  The buff form of the White Ermine was also in the trap, but my pics of it deep in its eggbox don't show the buff tinge so I'll leave them out.

Laothoe populi

And the star of the show, the Poplar Hawkmoth.  I'd never seen anything like this before in my life!

Thanks again to Pete for a momentous moth morning.  We also went for a short walk among the bluebells and looked at the flowers which were so prolific in the woodland including some Early Purple Orchids.  The hazel wood is at its best this time of the year and is a place of supreme beauty and tranquility.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer