An Carn gets in a flutter

Children get a crawly lesson of the winged variety at the An Carn Centre.
Children get a crawly lesson of the winged variety at the An Carn Centre.

CARNTOGHER Community Centre was all of a flutter thanks to a visit from Butterfly Conservation Northern Ireland’s (BCNI) regional officer, Catherine Bertrand, with her moth and butterfly roadshow.

The aim of this visit was to help rectify the official maps of butterflies and moths for the area which show very few species, although there are plenty out there!

On the 29 and 30 May, moth traps were set in various locations around Carntogher including the fen at newly purchased Drumnaph Farm and the festival clearing at Drumnaph Wood, as well as gardens of local residents who ‘adopted’ moth traps for the evening.

Over the two days of the workshop and with assistance of pupils from St Brigid’s Primary School and Bunscoil Naomh Bríd, Tirkane, 260 individual moths were recorded of over 50 species. There are around 1000 species of moth in Ireland.

One of the most exciting finds, an Alder Moth, a fairly uncommon moth which is only found to the west of Lough Neagh and has never been recorded in the area before. A ‘Golden Zebra Moth’ Argyresthia trifasciata was found in the garden of local mum, Ciara Nic Ruairí, from Gulladuff. This minute but beautiful moth measuring only 3mm in length was recorded in Northern Ireland for the first time in 2011, and this record is the furthest north that it has ever been found.

The absolute top moth, however, was the discovery of a Small Seraphim caught on the Tirnony Road as this is only the second ever time this moth has been recorded in the county, the last record dating from 1875!

On Friday June 8 An Carn will host a day of butterflies, concentrating on the Large Heath, a special species known from a few scattered sites, but almost certainly a lot more common and widespread than we think. Meeting at 10.30 at the Carntogher Community Centre, bring a packed lunch, wear strong shoes and weatherproof clothing as we will be heading to Ballynahone Bog to see this species on the wing in the afternoon. Booking is essential.

Send you records and get more information about upcoming events from Pol Mac Cana at Carntogher Community Association, email or phone 028 7954 9978.