Wildlife Trust season kicks off with focus on moths

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THE autumn/winter season of the Cookstown Wildlife Trust kicked off well with a talk from one of their favourite speakers.

Catherine Bertrand gave a lively, well-illustrated and informative talk on butterflies last year, so the group anticipated another interesting talk when Catherine returned on Tuesday 11 October to speak about moths. Catherine described the insect in two separate groups, micro moths (small ones which damage clothes or fruit) and macro moths (many of which fly at night and often circle lights) but explained that there are some that fly during the daytime. Many macro moths rival butterflies in their beauty as was illustrated by Catherine’s opening slide of the beautifully marked ‘Angel Shades’. She explained how important moths are in helping to power our ecosystem as they provide food for birds, bats and swallows and themselves do important work as pollinators.

Moths are also excellent indicators of changes in climate. Catherine pointed out that many moths are advancing northwards with our milder winters. Habitat changes also have a strong influence on the distribution of moth species.

The speaker also explained the differences between moths and butterflies and then gave a light-hearted quiz to get those in attendance to test whether they could tell the difference between the two in pictures. The Wildlife Trust passed on their thanks to Catherine Bertrand for providing her expertise in the enjoyable talk.

The group agreed on a visit to An Carn with Catherine next summer to carry out some identification of moths and butterflies. To find out more on the butterflies and moths of Northern Ireland go to www.bcni.org.uk.

Cookstown Wildlife Trust continue their programme with an outing to Castle Espie on Saturday 22 October, they will also visit the nearby Nendrum monastic site if time permits. If you are interested in joining this trip contact Mona on 028 867 62445.

Their next talk will be ‘Birds of the Mournes’ by George Acheson on Tuesday 8 November at 7.45pm in East Tyrone College of Education, Burn Road,Cookstown. George, a retired Vice-Principal, and is an experienced hill-walker, geo-casher and traveller with an intimate knowledge of the Mournes.