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By Taylor Wildlife, Jun 30 2019 02:00PM

Moth trapping at our Perthshire site has been a little come and go the past month. An initial session back in April led to over 200 (!) moths, but poor weather and a very short extension cable have limited our more recent attempts to only a few individuals. However, after the procurement of a much longer extension cable, which allowed us to leave the trap in a better location, our moth trapping has resumed its successful track record.

The chosen night for trapping was forecast to be dry and cloudy but upon awakening early on Saturday morning there had been obvious rain throughout the night. After a bleary-eyed rush outside to rescue the trap before it filled with water, it was with much trepidation that we lifted the lid, expecting a sea of soggy egg cartons and no moths. However to our delight, a quick glance revealed some classic favourite species.

First out of the trap was a peppered moth, happily relaxing and unpertubed by the drenched carton beneath it. A white ermine with its snowy jacket was hiding underneath. The next carton showcased a pristine dark brocade, clouded-bordered brindle and a small phoenix.

We quickly added to the list another small phoenix and white ermine before reaching some mystery specimens, difficult to identify with badly faded wings. But who doesn't love a challenge! After much consultation and deliberation, we agreed that they were more clouded-bordered brindles.

An escapee flame carpet offered some excitement as we chased it around the boot room before returning to find our dark brocade had also gone walkabouts as well (this particular individual was found Tuesday morning, looking a little dazed as it clung to a boot shoelace). The final highlight to surface out of the trap was a fine specimen of a poplar hawkmoth, rounding off a successful night's work by the little Heath trap... Or so we though!

Upon returning the moths safely to the wet hedge outside (althouth i'm sure they preferred our nice dry boot room), a lovely (albeit quite ragged) northern eggar was found on the grass near where the trap had been the night before. In total, 13 months of 9 different species were caught. This doesn't come close to the amazing numbers caught by the Robinson trap back in April, but it still resulting in an enjoyable Saturday morning.

Hopefully, an improvement in the weekend weather will mean we can get mothing more often, so keep your eyes peeled for our moth trapping updates! In the meantime, here are a few pictures from our moth ID session.

A beautiful white ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda)
A beautiful white ermine (Spilosoma lubricipeda)
Our first catch - a peppered moth (Biston betularia)
Our first catch - a peppered moth (Biston betularia)
Poplar hawkmoth (Laothoe populi)
Poplar hawkmoth (Laothoe populi)
Northern eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)
Northern eggar (Lasiocampa quercus)

By Taylor Wildlife, May 30 2019 02:00PM

It's May. Rucksack packed? Check! Midge repellent? Check!

The time has come to start a new adventure in the wild glens of Scotland.

The landscape is breathtaking, and at times brutal. Getting to grips with survey techniques and navigation training with the guidance of experienced team leaders, everything starts to fall into place.

Walking out to your first survey area, a sense of excitement, determination and anticipation fills you with each step. You can get these surveys done!!

You've arrived at your start point (you hope!). Plotting your GPS coordinates; notebook and maps at the ready, you wonder what you will see today.

Manoevering through upland habitats proves a challenge; tussocks, heather and sphagnum moss bogs can be, in all honesty, a pain. But without them, there wouldn't be the fantastic array of species for you to find.

The first time you see or hear something new to you, or even something familiar that you love in such a beautiful place (for me seeing buzzards soaring high above, calling wistfully) is inspiring.

A couple of weeks in and (Scottish weather permitting) several surveys under your belt, the landscape seems more familiar and you will feel confident navigating through the vast moorland (although you will always be childishly happy when your survey route happens to take you along a path).

Gaining experience as you go along, you quickly learn the best (and worst!) places to put your feet when out on difficult ground. Your fitness levels quickly improve and your knowledge of the species and ecology around you increases. Undoubtedly, you will also discover muscles you didn't know you had, as well as a genuine and heartfelt appreciation for blister plasters!

Falling over is, i'm afraid, inevitable, and in hindsight can be comedy gold! At least there's no chance of you appearing on an episode of 'You've been framed', after all only a couple of bemused grouse and perhaps an observant eagle spotted you - but did you spot them? Quick! Where's my pencil?!"

By Taylor Wildlife, Oct 2 2018 10:51AM

Without wanting to state the obvious - wasps and bees can sting. And although it might feel like they're just out to ruin summer picnics, these stings are intended to work as a defence against predators. Wasps and many bees are boldly striped with colours that act as a warning to predators: don't try to eat me or i'll sting you! Many insect-eating birds and mammals learn to leave these insects along and opt for a less hazardous food option instead.