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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Insh Marshes Field trip in search of Northern Brown Argus,
Tuesday July 12th 2011.

By Pete Moore (moth pots still dirty)

Twelve folk gathered at Insh Marshes NNR. It was a cloudy morning to start but at least it wasn’t raining (for a change) and the forecast was for it to brighten up. We went through the moth trap first, which didn’t take long because there were so few moths in it. Just 14 species of macro moth, which is pathetic for mid July, when we would be hoping for 50+ (indeed on this same trip last year we had a stunning 67 species – a record for me).

We headed along the trail but because of the cloudy conditions, only Ringlets and Chimney Sweeper moths were flying. At patches of rock-rose, the larval food plant, we had to resort to looking for Northern Brown Argus amongst the vegetation. At the second patch, the enthusiastic James didn’t hesitate to get down on his hands and knees and he was soon rewarded with an inactive Northern Brown Argus! Target achieved ! We continued along the trail, looking at the aspens and then the sun at last broke through, the temperature rose and there was instant butterfly activity. In one grassy hollow we had Dark Green Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Common Blue and Small Heath. Further along the trail we added Meadow Brown to give us a total of seven butterfly species.

The sun shone for most of the remainder of the trip and although we didn’t add any more butterfly species to the list, we saw some nice moths, including July Belle (loads of them), Gold Spangle, Yellow Shell and Bird Cherry Ermine. Also Bee Beetles feeding on flowers of Melancholy Thistle. Thanks mainly to the weather it was a very enjoyable and successful trip.

Moths in the trap.

Light Emerald

Common Marbled Carpet

Mottled Beauty

Coxcomb Prominent

Lesser Swallow Prominent

Silver-ground Carpet

Ingrailed Clay

Swallow Prominent

Small Dotted Buff

Green Carpet

Barred Chestnut

Purple Clay

Crambus lathoniellus

Scoparia ambigualis

Argyresthia goedartella

Additional moths on the walk

July Belle

Chimney Sweeper

Large Yellow Underwing

Common White Wave

Barred Straw

Straw Dot

Bird Cherry Ermine

Gold Spangle

Yellow Shell

Other bugs

Bee Beetle

Violet Ground Beetle

Dor Beetle

Common Blue Damselfly

Golden-ringed Dragonfly


Heath Spotted


Northern Marsh

Small White

Northern Brown Argus (P Moore)

Northern Brown Argus (Pete Moore)

Northern Brown Argus underside (Pete Moore)

Northern Brown Argus underside
(Pete Moore)

Bee Beetle (Pete Moore)

Bee Beetle (Pete Moore)



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