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Events Report 2011

SATURDAY 26TH FEBRUARY

Lullybeg Nature Reserve: This was a clean-up day when members tidied up an area on the south side of the reserve by piling up cut material. This helped to prepare the area for grazing which took place during September.

SUNDAY 29TH MAY

This event was held in the Burren and involved members of the Burrenbeo/Burren in Bloom and recorders with the National Biodiversity Data Centre. About 60 people took part in a guided walk held near Carron, County Clare. The weather initially was unsuitable with cold winds and rain. A weather window obligingly arrived and butterfly activity quickly became evident. To the delight of all present all the target species were seen: Dingy Skipper, Wood White, Green-veined White, Common Blue, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary and Wall Brown. We saw Dingy Skipper and Pearl-bordered Fritillary oviposit on Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil and Common Dog Violet respectively. To crown the day a fully fed Silver-washed Fritillary larva was found in pre-pupation mode on a sedge inflorescence. The limestone grassland and scrub clearings looked stunning with the yellow of Common Bird’s-foot-trefoil and mauve Bloody Crane’s-bill especially beautiful.

SATURDAY 4TH JUNE

Trip to Lullybeg Butterfly Reserve: the weather was bleak on this day; an overcast cold day offered little hope of seeing much. Some sightings were made including Common Blue [16], Small Copper [2], Small Heath [21], Small Tortoiseshell [1] and Marsh Fritillary [5]. A “highlight” was seeing a Marsh Fritillary attacked by a crab spider [Misumena vatia] while the butterfly fed on an Ox-eye Daisy. The small number of Marsh Fritillaries seen was unsurprising given the weather conditions but the low numbers were to be reflected in the small number of larval webs found later in the year.

THURSDAY 9TH JUNE

This was a talk given to BCI and Birdwatch Ireland members at the Townhouse Hotel, Naas. Attended by about 40 people it was most enjoyable, especially the post talk adjournment to the hotel lounge! A

PowerPoint presentation featuring all native butterflies was made as well as video footage of some species.

SATURDAY 11th JUNE

This guided walk on Lullybeg Butterfly Reserve was a follow-up to the talk the held on the previous Thursday. Again cold conditions militated[the temperature was 12 degrees] against a good showing with only 10 Small Heaths and 4 Common Blues on the wing. A Small Copper larva was found on a young sorrel plant growing on a raised clump of turf facing south-east. I felt increasing embarrassment at the failure to find a Marsh Fritillary when suddenly one revealed itself just as I had lost hope. Everyone there had a good look at this rarity and felt that the mission was accomplished. Everyone present was most impressed with the reserve and support was promised in the event of scrub clearance being needed.

FRIDAY 17TH JUNE

Lullybeg moth night was led by Philip Strickland. A cool night is always poor for moths and temperature of 7 degrees reduced optimism. We set up 3 light traps one of which we placed in a sheltered south facing clearing that contains birch of various growth forms such as mature, coppiced, saplings and seedlings precisely the situation described as ideal for what is perhaps Ireland’s rarest resident moth and a major target species for our night, the Waved Carpet. Philip abruptly broke off conversation at one point to net a small pale moth. And we had our quarry. A mere 4 specimens of this creature have been taken in Ireland [Ken Bond]. We will continue to manage the birch in this area to produce the variety of growth forms needed to support this special moth. Other noteworthy moths found include the Lead-coloured Pug and Silver Hook. A full list of the 107 moths found on the night is given below. Note that not all the species have English names.

16 Hepialus hecta Gold Swift
18 Hepialus fusconebulosa Map-winged Swift
132 Incurvaria praelatella
397 Glyphipterix thrasonella
410 Argyresthia brockeella
415 Argyresthia retinella
481 Epermenia falciformis
544 Coleophora albicosta
597 Elachista atricomella
610 Elachista argentella
647 Hofmannophila pseudospretella Brown House Moth
726 Metzneria metzneriella
760 Exoteleia dodecella
770 Carpatolechia proximella
892 Mompha subbistrigella
936 Cochylimorpha straminea
938 Agapeta zoegana
942 Aethes piercei
945 Aethes cnicana
954 Eupoecilia angustana
968 Cochylis nana
986 Syndemis musculana
989 Aphelia paleana Timothy Tortrix
1010 Ditula angustiorana Red-barred Tortrix
1015 Eulia ministrana
1087 Orthotaenia undulana
1119 Ancylis geminana
1133 Epinotia bilunana
1201 Eucosma cana
1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella Garden Grass-veneer
1294 Crambus pascuella
1301 Crambus lathoniellus
1334 Scoparia ambigualis
1336 Eudonia pallida
1344 Eudonia mercurella
1354 Cataclysta lemnata Small China-mark
1378 Eurrhypara coronata
1574 Polyommatus icarus Common Blue
1627 Coenonympha pamphilus Small Heath
1638 Macrothylacia rubi Fox Moth
1645 Falcaria lacertinaria Scalloped Hook-tip
1648 Drepana falcataria scotica Pebble Hook-tip
1652 Thyatira batis Peach Blossom
1666 Geometra papilionaria Large Emerald
1677 Cyclophora albipunctata Birch Mocha
1722 Xanthorhoe designata Flame Carpet
1725 Xanthorhoe ferrugata Dark-barred Twin-spot Carpet
1727 Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet
1738 Epirrhoe alternata Common Carpet
1764 Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet
1768 Thera obeliscata Grey Pine Carpet
1769 Thera britannica Spruce Carpet
1773 Electrophaes corylata Broken-barred Carpet
1776 Colostygia pectinataria Green Carpet
1794 Euphyia unangulata Sharp-angled Carpet
1814 Eupithecia plumbeolata Lead-coloured Pug
1834 Eupithecia vulgata Common Pug
1837 Eupithecia subfuscata Grey Pug
1840 Eupithecia subumbrata Shaded Pug
1846 Eupithecia nanata Narrow-winged Pug
1851 Eupithecia virgaureata Golden-rod Pug
1860 Pasiphila rectangulata Green Pug
1877 Hydrelia sylvata Waved Carpet
1887 Lomaspilis marginata Clouded Border
1893 Macaria liturata Tawny-barred Angle
1894 Chiasmia clathrata Latticed Heath
1902 Petrophora chlorosata Brown Silver-line
1920 Odontopera bidentata Scalloped Hazel
1931 Biston betularia Peppered Moth
1937 Peribatodes rhomboidaria Willow Beauty
1941 Alcis repandata Mottled Beauty
1955 Cabera pusaria Common White Wave
1956 Cabera exanthemata Common Wave
1958 Lomographa temerata Clouded Silver
1961 Campaea margaritata Light Emerald
1969 Dyscia fagaria Grey Scalloped Bar
1980 Smerinthus ocellata Eyed Hawk-moth
1981 Laothoe populi Poplar Hawk-moth
1994 Phalera bucephala Buff-tip
2003 Notodonta ziczac Pebble Prominent
2006 Pheosia gnoma Lesser Swallow Prominent
2007 Pheosia tremula Swallow Prominent
2011 Pterostoma palpina Pale Prominent
2028 Calliteara pudibunda Pale Tussock
2060 Spilosoma lubricipeda White Ermine
2061 Spilosoma luteum Buff Ermine
2089 Agrotis exclamationis Heart and Dart
2091 Agrotis ipsilon Dark Sword-grass
2098 Axylia putris Flame
2102 Ochropleura plecta Flame Shoulder
2107 Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing
2118 Lycophotia porphyrea True Lover’s Knot
2122 Diarsia brunnea Purple Clay
2123 Diarsia rubi Small Square-spot
2158 Lacanobia thalassina Pale-shouldered Brocade
2163 Melanchra pisi Broom Moth
2289 Acronicta rumicis Knot Grass
2302 Rusina ferruginea Brown Rustic
2321 Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches
2326 Apamea crenata Clouded-bordered Brindle
2330 Apamea remissa Dusky Brocade
2337x Oligia strigilis agg. Marbled Minor agg.
2345 Photedes minima Small Dotted Buff
2412 Deltote uncula Silver Hook
2434 Diachrysia chrysitis Burnished Brass
2477 Hypena proboscidalis Snout
2492 Herminia grisealis Small Fan-foot

SATURDAY 30TH JULY

This visit to Garryland Wood in County Galway took place for the most part in heavy rain with some breaks. None of us was optimistic and we even debated staying in our cars! We did venture forth and ended up being glad we did. We heard Log-eared Owls making their “squeaky gate” impressions from the depths of the darker areas of the wood. When we did get into the open we spotted Green-veined Whites [9], Peacock [1], Silver-washed Fritillary [6].These were vibrating their wing muscles to warm up. We also got Meadow Brown [2] and Ringlet [6]. Liz Byrnes was sharp-eyed and spied a brown butterfly low down on Blackthorn. To our delight we had found a female Brown Hairstreak sporting the glowing golden brown undersides of a freshly emerged individual. Liz and John Lovatt also drew attention to her white legs that give the impression of shining white gym socks. Thoroughly soaked but satisfied we returned to the warmth of our vehicles.

SATURDAY 29TH OCTOBER

Scrub clearance at Lullybeg Reserve: this management work was carried out by BCI and Birdwatch Ireland members. An area that was heavily encroached by birch scrub was cleared and this part of the site contains drier fine-leaved grassland highly suitable for the Small Heath. This forms part of the transect so the effects of this management on the Small Heath will be monitored.