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‘Moth Morning’ to follow the busiest moth night of the year at Cream o’Galloway

The dark night skies caused by the new moon this Friday night are a cause for excitement at Cream o’ Galloway as they host a ‘Moth Morning’ on Saturday, to investigate the creatures that inhabit the night at the popular visitor attraction.

The event is hosted by Biodiversity Officer with Dumfries & Galloway Council, Peter Norman, who will set two moth traps at Cream o’ Galloway on Friday evening.  The lack of moonlight on Friday night means that a large number of moths will be more attracted than normal to the light within the trap.  This combined with mid-June being the busiest time of year in the moth calendar should ensure there’s a huge number and variety of moths for visitors to see and investigate.

Peter Norman said, “Cream o’ Galloway is a key partner in implementing the Dumfries and Galloway Local Biodiversity Action Plan.  A wide range of habitat improvements have been carried out on the farm, and by monitoring the moths species we can gain some understanding of the impact these habitat improvements are having.  

“Moths are fascinating creatures.  There are more than 800 species in Britain and more than half of these have been recorded in Dumfries and Galloway.  Many are just as big, bright and colourful as their butterfly relatives, but due to the fact that most of them fly at night, their beauty is rarely appreciated.  It’s always exciting to open a moth trap that has been left running overnight, as you can never be sure what you will find.  There can be up to 50 species in a single trap, with names as weird and wonderful as their wing patterns, including Elephant Hawkmoth, Peach Blossom, Garden Tiger, Grey Dagger and Nut-tree Tussock.  So we’re sure to have a fascinating morning on Saturday.”

Cream o’ Galloway Ranger Alan McClure says he hopes visitors will be fascinated by weird, wonderful and often misunderstood creatures.

“People who arrive around ten will get a chance to see what’s been caught in the visitor centre trap – it might take some time to identify everything because we have so many species in Dumfries & Galloway, so visitors can come and go during the process.  The dedicated can then join Peter for a walk to the woods to inspect the second trap.  On a previous occasion this one was practically full, so it may be even more exciting than the first one.  Particular species to look out for include the impressive Elephant Hawkmoths, which are surprisingly large and shocking pink in colour.  

”At Cream o’ Galloway we record all the species reported on site – not just moths and butterflies, but birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians as well.  This gives us a good idea of how our environment is faring and it’s also exciting for tourists who wish to look out for particular species.  Butterflies are important indicators of changes in the environment, and right now some species seem to be changing their ranges as a possible response to climate change.  We’ve had a couple of unexpected finds here, notable a Northern Brown Argus butterfly which should really be restricted to rocky coastline, but which has appeared twice around our nature trails.  So we’ve got our fingers crossed that Moth Morning will reveal a few species surprises and that we’ll find something truly unexpected.”  

Further Information:
The Moth Morning takes place on Saturday 16th June at 10am and is free to attend.

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