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Field trip to Sluggan, Carrbridge, 2nd April 2011

The moth trapping event was put on to try to find the Rannoch Sprawler moth in a new 10km square.

Rannoch Sprawler is listed as a Red Data Book Species as it is found at only a few locations in the UK all of which are located in the central Highlands.

As the populations within Strathspey appear to be doing well there was a good chance that we might be successful with finding it on a new site. We went to Sluggan near Carrbridge to an area of open mature birch woodland, the moth’s favoured habitat and set up three mercury vapour and three actinic light traps in an area of approximately one square kilometre.

No sooner had the traps been set when it started to rain, fortunately not too heavily and it only lasted for one hour after that it was dry but cool falling to +2°C just after midnight.

However the six hardy souls that turned up were not put off and whilst waiting to see if any Rannoch Sprawlers would arrive we watched a number of the more common spring moths fly into the traps.

Rannoch Sprawler (Mike Taylor)The Rannoch Sprawler (opposite) is a late evening moth and is rarely seen before 10pm and more usually after midnight so it was a fairly long wait but success arrived at 11:35pm as one was seen crawling onto the sheet under the Skinner Trap, within minutes two more arrived, again on foot.

By the time that we had packed up and finished we had a total of seven Rannoch Sprawlers from four of the traps showing that the moth is well distributed throughout the site, a very satisfactory outcome.

The following is a list of species found on the night which considering the conditions and the time of year is a very reasonable number:

Micro Moth sp. Semioscopis avellanella
Micro Moth sp. Acleris notana
Yellow Horned Achlya flavicornis
Mottled Grey Colostygia multistrigaria
Early Tooth-striped Trichopteryx carpinata
Brindled Beauty Lycia hirtaria
Dotted Border Agriopis marginaria
Pine Beauty Panolis flammea
Common Quaker Orthosia cerasi
Clouded Drab Orthosia incerta
Hebrew Character Orthosia gothica
Rannoch Sprawler Brachionycha nubeculosa
Red Sword-grass Xylena vetusta
Chestnut Conistra vaccinii

Mike Taylor
County Moth Recorder, Moray (VC95)

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