Country Corner

The angle shade moth
The angle shade moth

It is about this time of year I think about bringing my moth trapping gear out of its winter hibernation in the loft.

Moth trapping, for the purposes of identifying and studying the species in your garden, or local patch of countryside, has become very popular in recent years.

I have to say though, it is a challenging business due to the sheer number of species in Scotland.

Also there are a good many lookalikes. Fortunately the modern naturalist need not struggle alone over learned reference books.

These days local naturalists are all in regular communication through internet forums.

Be the subject moths, birds, butterflies, bees, mammmals or whatever, there is a dedicated internet forum to discuss tricky identifications and generally to learn from one another.

Fortunately not all moths are hard to recognise. Take this very distinctive creature trying its best to look like a dry old leaf.

Angle Shades is a very common moth, though like so many of its kind, rarely seen by the general public.

To those addicted to leaving their ultra violet moth traps glowing all night, it is a regular prize among the morning catch.

There is something very exciting about the morning ritual of opening up the trap box to see how many moths have been caught.

Numerous different species may be represented, all patiently waiting to be identified and released.

As the weeks go by the number and species mix changes, so no two catches are the same.

Quite often when I catch a particular species for the first time since the previuos summer, I find myself wracking my brain to recall its name, like meeting a familiar face in the street and and trying deaparately to remember who they are!

Challenging though it may be, one look at this picture shows why we do it.

Did you ever see such an exquisite creation of evolution as the stunning Angle Shades Moth?