To view a list of macro moth species recorded in Caithness in 2011 click on this link: 2011 LIST

Laying snow from heavy falls in November and December 2010 continued until the middle of January, but the latter part of January and all of February were relatively mild. Throughout March temperatures were above average for the month with unusually calm and dry conditions leading into April. After a short wet and windy spell early in April the weather for most of the month and the first week of May was dominated by high pressure with warm, dry sunny days. Although the cold nights associated with this period reduced trapping activity the warm weather resulted in a number of species recording their earliest  dates in the County. The summer and autumn weather was average for the County.

178 species of macro moth were recorded in the County during 2011, well down on the 202 recorded in 2010 but up on 2009 total of 166. 2908 records were received from 19 observers a substantial fall on the 2010 total of 3600.


Four  macro moth species were recorded in Caithness for the first time in 2011.

SLENDER PUG                                                               Recorded in ND02 (1 record of 1 adult) and ND35 (3 records of 3 adults)
Previously recorded in Scotland as far north as the southern Moray Firth coast and the Inverness area. Recent records in Wester Ross ans the Dornoch area suggest that the species is expanding its range rather tyhan having been overlooked.

FEATHERED THORN                                                     Recorded in ND26 - 1 record of 1 adult
Sparsely recorded in Scotland north to Shetland including a handful of records from Sutherland

BRINDLED BEAUTY  Lycia hirtaria                               Recorded in ND26 - 2 records of 2 adults from 2 sites
Two fairly distinct populations in the UK being widespread in England and Wales from the Midlands southward but in Scotland largely confined to the non montane areas in the Highlands north to Lairg. Possibly a recent colonist to the County rather  than being previously overlooked as one of the sites at which it was found has been monitored regularly for some years.

OLD LADY  Mormo maura                                               One record in ND16
UK distribution is mainly south of line below Cumbria and Durham and in Scotland its status is described as local and infrequent. Not noted as a migrant so this record of one at an outside light in Thurso appears to indicate the existence of a small resident population.


SIX-SPOT BURNET Zygaena filipendulae                   Recorded in ND27
A new colony of at least 20 individuals discovered at a well watched site in ND27

DRINKER  Euthrix potatoria                                             Recorded in ND05, ND06 and ND14
Following the first records in 2010 Drinker was recorded in 2011 at four sires in three squares, including larva at one site. Appears to be well established in the west of the County.

COMMON LUTESTRING  Ochropacha duplaris           Recorded in ND27
Only the fifth record of this species in the Caithness and only the second since 1961.

BEECH-GREEN CARPET  Colostygia olivata              Recorded in ND02
The second County record following the first in 2010 also in the south--east of the County.

WHITE-SPOTTED PUG  Eupithecia tripunctaria           Recorded in ND26
Two records from the same site constitute the 2nd and 3rd County records following the first in 1982.

MANCHESTER TREBLE-BAR  Carsia sororiata           Recorded in ND02
Status: Nationally Scarce B. Single record in ND02 was the first record for that square.

EARLY TOOTH-STRIPED  Trichopteryx carpinata         Recorded in ND26
A single record in ND26 was the first since 1995.

PALE BRINDLED BEAUTY  Apocheima pilosaria         Recorded in ND26 and ND35
After the first County record in 2010, two records in 2011 indicate that the species may be more widespread than records show.

SCARCE UMBER  Agriopis aurantiaria                           Recorded in NC96
A single record from NC96 is only the second record since 1996

HUMMING-BIRD HAWKMOTH  Macroglossum stellatarum      Recorded in ND27
The fifth County record. All records have been since 2006.

ELEPHANT HAWKMOTH  Deilephila elpenor                 Recorded in ND06
The fourth County record. All records have been since 2006

SWALLOW PROMINENT  Pheosia tremula                      Recoded in ND13
The fourth County record

VAPOURER  Orgyia antiqua                                                Recorded in ND06
A single record of larva from ND06. This species is probably under recorded with an unusually high percentage of records (ca 50%) being of larva.

COMMON FOOTMAN    Eilema lurideola                          Recorded in ND02
The third County record and the second since 1982. All records have been from the south-east of the County.

NUTMEG  Discestra trifolii                                                    Recorded in ND37
The second County record the first being in 1973

CLAY  Mythimna ferrago                                                       Recorded in ND02
The second County record the first being in 1961

SHARK  Cucullia umbratica                                                 Recorded in ND26
The fifth County record. All records have been in the last two weeks of July.

SWORD-GRASS  Xylena exsoleta                                      Recorded in ND37
The second and third County records

SAXON Hyppa rectilnea                                                        Recorded in ND14
The third County record following one in 2010

FROSTED ORANGE Gortyna flavago                                 Recorded in ND35
Eight records from one site in ND35 constituted the fifth to twelfth records for the County


Thank you to the observers listed below who provided records during 2011 and a special thanks to Roy Leverton for his help and support on numerous identification issues.

H Byrne, H Clark, J Clarke, R Dawson, R Homan, M Legg, S Manson, E Maughan, A McBay, D Money, N Money,
A Miller, P Miller, K Munro, D Omand, I Outlaw, D Tuerlinkx, D Watt, P Wright,