Saturday 13th July 2019, 10:30am-4:00pm


  • Tom Prescott
  • Email: Tel: 01540 661469. Mob: 07979 785665

55.021595790037, -3.6433515002502

Forester Moth Survey – Caterpillar hunt


Saturday 13th July

10.30am – 4pm

Mabie Forest, near Dumfries


Despite its name the day-flying and threatened Forester Moth is associated with damp and/or flower-rich meadows, rather than woodland. 

It is a very scarce species in Scotland, seldom observed, only occurring at a few sites in Argyll centred around Oban and some of the Inner Hebridean islands, and a few locations along the Solway Coast close to Dumfries, including meadows at Mabie Forest.

The adult moths are mostly encountered in June nectaring on a variety of flowers including Ragged Robin and Marsh Thistle.  The moth’s caterpillars feed on Common Sorrel and possibly also Sheep’s Sorrel, however, little is known about their preferred breeding habitat.

Aim of the day

The aim of the day is to look for the characteristic feeding signs and early stage caterpillars at a known site.  It is then hoped that attendees are suitably encouraged and enthused to look for these signs at other sites in the area – information on these will be provided on the day.  The results from such surveys will provide Butterfly Conservation Scotland with valuable information on the habitat preferences of the moth so we have more confidence in implementing appropriate management to benefit the species. 

A similar day held near Oban last year resulted in the discovery of several new colonies through finding caterpillars, as well as adults the following year.  Pheromone lures may also be available to assist with the latter.


After gathering at Mabie Forest for tea, coffee and hopefully cake there will be a short presentation on Forester Moth and its requirements.

Weather permitting moth traps will have been run the night before and these will be opened either close to the car park and/or in situ at the Forester Moth site.  All moths caught will be released unharmed.

We will then take a short drive out to the site, in as few cars as possible, to begin the search.

Approx duration: 

Probably an hour or so inside, whilst the field trip will last 2-3 hours. 

Meeting place and directions

Mabie Forest lies just beside the A710 between Dumfries and New Abbey.  Look out for signposts to the forest from the A710 about 4 miles (6.5 km) south of Dumfries.  Turn into the forest and it’s about ½ mile (1km) to the car park, at grid reference NX 950 709.  DG2 8HB is the nearest postcode if you are navigating by Sat Nav.  Please park in the main car park and then follow the Butterfly Conservation Scotland signs to the indoor venue which is just ten minutes walk away in a Forestry and Land Scotland building, just beyond the Mabie House Hotel.

What’s needed

Plenty of sunshine, packed lunch, stout walking shoes and a good sense of humour!  A hand lens would also be useful.


It is not necessary to book – just turn up!  The event is free and everyone is welcome - you do not have to be a member of Butterfly Conservation Scotland.

For more information contact

Tom Prescott, Butterfly Conservation Scotland, Email: @email

Tel: 01540 661469.  Mob: 07979 785665