In my last post I presented three photos of lovely moths but didn’t have time to say much about them.

Aaaand I still don’t! But here’s a brief synopsis of the fabulous weekend the moths were photographed on.

The Belfast Naturalists Field Club and Butterfly Conservation organised a joint outing at Murlough National Nature Reserve last Saturday. 3 Mercury Vapour Robinson traps and 1 Blacklight Heath trap were set out in the woods around Murlough House on Friday night and on Saturday morning at 8:00 I arrived on my bicycle to watch as the traps were opened.

The sheer variety of moths was fantastic. I’ll have to post a list of all the species I saw, but not now! I was also going to post all the photos here, but instead – here’s the link to my set on Flickr. Below are some of my favourites from the day – click on them for high-resolution versions…..

Peach Blossom, Murlough, 26 May 2012

Peach Blossom

Emperor Moth female

A rather old and tattered, but still beautiful, female Emperor Moth. She laid some eggs in the trap which I released later in Murlough.

Elephant Hawkmoth

PINK ELEPHANTS!!! The magnificent Elephant Hawkmoth

Is there a pink theme going on here?

Early Thorn

Early Thorn

And finally two from the walk later in the day. A freshly-emerged Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth…

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth

A dream come true to get this close to one of these. Once it starts flying all those lighter-brown scales fall off to leave a clear wing with brown borders.

And we’ll end on a butterfly!

Marsh Fritillary

A glorious Marsh Fritillary, probably a male.

What a fantastic weekend. Coupled with Monday night’s trapping (I’ll have to do a post on that) it brings my moth year list to 85 and my butterfly year list to 13! The new-for-year butterflies were the Marsh Frit, Green Hairstrak (only the second year it’s been seen at Murlough) and the Small Heath, all of which are photographed on the Flickr set.

And with 18 minutes left on the laptop battery, I’d better stop.

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