[From Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol 3]


19th June, 1930.

Leader: Mr C. I. Paton.

About 35 members turned up at Sulby Glen Railway Station to explore the famous Curraghs. The bog-bean, the pride of the Curraghs, was over, but one or two laggard spikes were found and much admired. The five-spot burnet moth (Zygwna trifolh) was just beginning to put in an appearance, its brilliant red hind-wings and the red spots on the fore-wings contrasting beautifully with the dark green (nearly black) hue of the rest of its surface. The little yellow silk grass hammocks of the pupae were conspicuous on the grass stems in one rather dry spot. This moth, unlike its "six-spot" cousin, is scarce in the Isle of Man-in fact, these Curraghs, where Mr Shortridge Clarke discovered the species 30 years ago, is its only known Manx locality. Another interesting find was a patch of mace-reed, in which the caterpillars of the bull rush moth (Nonagria typhae) were feeding, the yellow central leaves betraying the presence of the long, dusky-brown larvae which feed in the interior of the stem. It was only in 1928 that Mr W. P. Quaggan added this fine moth to the Manx list, and I do not think that it is common in the Island. The sweet-scented bog-myrtle (Myrica Gale, Linn.) was abundant, but it is easily overlooked by the non-botanist, as its leaves resemble the small-leaved sallows which cover so much of the swamps. The Royal Ferns (Osmunda regalis, Linn.) were fairly abundant, and aroused much interest.

On leaving the Curraghs, by the Ballaugh road, most of íhe members returned home. Seven, however, completed the programme by a visit to the "Cashtal lajer." This well-preserved. earthwork is situate on the hill above Cronk-auld, about 800 feet or more above sea-level, and is visible, though not conspicuous, from the road below. It is nowadays more generally known as "the Castle" than by its old name, which means the "strong fort." After a most enjoyable scramble up the hill, where a pink variety of the common speedwell (Veronica. officinalis Linn.) was noted, Mr Neely made accurate measurements of the roughly circular entrenchment, about 100 feet in diameter, and it was photographed.

The lately abundant bird-song of the Curraghs, in which the chief performers are the Willow Warbler (Phylloseopus trochilus) and Sidge Warbler (Acrocephalus schoenobanus) was now little in evidence; nor were the Grasshopper Warbler and Water Rail observed. The breeding call of a few Curlews were heard, and two Heron seen.

At a short business meeting held during the day it was resolved that a communication be addressed to His Excellency the Lieutenant Governor respectfully submitting that the Calf of Man, now in the market, be purchased by the Insular Government, to provide a National Reservation and Bird Sanctuary.


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