Olav's Wood: Butterflies and moths

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Meadow Brown butterflies feeding on
Knapweed in Olav's Wood.
[5th August, 2014]
A female Large White feeding on
Knapweed in Olav's Wood.
[6th August, 2014]
Silver-ground Carpet in the evening
on the road verge near Olav's Wood.
[18th June, 2014]

If you walk through Olav's Wood on a sunny summer's day, you are likely to see several species of butterflies and moths in flight. An evening walk in the warmer months will be rewarded with a variety of moths.

Moths in Olav's Wood

The following list of moths trapped in Olav's Wood, 9-10th August 2014, has been kindly supplied by Sydney Gauld, the Butterflies and Moths Recorder for Orkney.

Noctua janthe Lesser Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing
Eulithis testata The Chevron
Hydriomena furcata July Highflyer
Noctua pronuba Large Yellow Underwing
Xestia xanthographa Square-spot Rustic
Acleris aspersana
Zeiraphera griseana Larch Tortrix
Apamea monoglypha Dark Arches
Mythimna impura Smoky Wainscot
Diarsia mendica Ingrailed Clay
Mesapamea secalis Common Rustic
Hylaea fasciaria Barred Red
Hydraecia micacea Rosy Rustic
Perizoma didymata Twin-spot Carpet
Chloroclysta truncata Common Marbled Carpet
Xanthorhoe decoloraria Red Carpet

Additional records:

Abraxas grossulariata Magpie Moth (July 2009, Aug 2015)
Arctia caja Garden Tiger Moth (L. Johnson, Sept. 2015)
Anthophila fabriciana Nettle-tap Moth (L. Johnson, June 2015)
Aphelia paleana Timothy Tortrix (L. Johnson, June 2015)
Autographa gamma Silver Y (L. Johnson, June 2015) - A migratory species from southern Europe and north Africa
Cerapteryx graminis Antler Moth (L. Johnson, Aug 2015)
Epiblema cynosbatella Yellow-faced Bell Moth (L. Johnson, July 2015)
Glyphipterix simpliciella Cocksfoot Moth (L. Johnson, June 2015)
Gracillaria syringella A leaf-miner moth which feeds on privet and lilac (L. Johnson, June 2016)
Laothoe populi Poplar Hawkmoth (L. Johnson, June 2105 and A. Mitchell)
Phragmatobia fuliginosa Ruby Tiger Moth (L. Johnson, Sept. 2015)
Opisthograptis luteolata Brimstone Moth (L. Johnson, Sept. 2015)
Orgyia antiqua Vapourer Moth (L. Johnson, August 2017)
Saturnia pavonia Emperor Moth (L. Johnson, May 2017)
Xanthorhoe montanata Silver-ground Carpet

Silver-ground Carpet (Xanthorhoe montanata) were common (June 2014) in the woodland paths and roadside verges.

Magpie moths (Abraxas grossulariata) are abundant in the woodland in the summer months (esp 2009, 2015, 2016, 2017). This species is described as "Rare in Orkney and Shetland, and possibly not resident." (Waring, Townsend and Lewington, Field Guide to the Moths of Great Britain and Ireland. Second Edition, 2009). There is good evidence that Magpie Moths are now (2016) a resident breeding species in Orkney (Lee Johnson, see photographs below).

Butterflies in Olav's Wood

Butterflies in the woods recorded by Andy Mitchell:

Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina
Large White Pieris brassicae
Green-veined White Pieris napi
Common Blue Polyommatus icarus
Peacock Aglais io
Small Tortoiseshell Aglais urticae
Red Admiral Vanessa atalanta
Painted Lady Vanessa cardui
Magpie Moths (Abraxas grossulariata)
are abundant in the woods in some years.
[Aug 2015]
Magpie Moth caterpillars in Olav's Wood
(April 2018, Lee Johnson)
Magpie Moth caterpillars in Olav's Wood
(April 2018, Lee Johnson)
Common Blues (Polyommatus icarus)
are seen in and around the woodlands.
This picture of a male on Ragged Robin
was taken on the west coast of South
Ronaldsay where these butterflies are
very common in the summer months.
(Aug 2015)
Green-veined White
(June 2015, Lee Johnson)
Poplar Hawkmoth
(June 2015, Lee Johnson)
Vapourer Moth eggs laid on a
female's pupal cocoon once she emerges
(Aug 2017, Lee Johnson)

Butterflies and moths in Orkney

Orkney has an interesting Lepidoptera fauna (butterflies and moths). There are good resources for investigating this, especially the Lorimer Collection in Stromness Museum, which is available to view by the general public.

Ian Lorimer has also published books on Orcadian Lepidoptera which are available at the museum or for sale online:

  • Lepidoptera of the Orkney Islands, R.I. Lorimer. 1983, E.W. Classey. ISBN: 9780860960171
  • Unfinished Business: A Final Supplement to the Lepidoptera of the Orkney Islands (1983), R.I. Lorimer. 1998. ISBN: 9780860960263

Orkney Library in Kirkwall houses the Orkney Biodiversity Records Centre, which includes material on butterflies and moths of the islands.

[August 2014] [August 2013] [August 2014]
Moths photographed in Olav's Wood

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