Latest Sightings - Highlands and Islands

Swallow-tailed Moth by Tony Mainwood

Details of unusual or unseasonal sightings are especially welcome for inclusion on this page. Please send your contributions to  . We would greatly appreciate it if you could include grid references where possible.

Highland Branch welcomes contributions not just from Highland and Moray, but from the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

Items from 2007 to 2013 have been archived, but can still be accessed on the old branch website:

Note: Sightings marked with * mean they are newly received though may be temporarilly not in date order in the list below, so can be easily noticed.


*13 March 2015. A Rannoch Sprawler was trapped in Invermoriston on 13th March 2015 by Doug Gilbert. Whilst this was one of only two moths in the trap it was a first record for the species in the NH41 10km square.

15 March 2015. Many thanks to Mark Wynn for his first moth records for the season. He had four moths in his light-trap: 2 x Common Quaker, Clouded Drab and Chestnut.

14 March 2015. Many thanks to Mark Wynn for the first butterfly sighting of the year - a Peacock on a warm and sunny afternoon today at Strathvaich NH 385 732

8 February 2015. The first butterfly sighting of the year was a Peacock sighted at 2pm in warm and sunny conditions today OS map #21 649727. Many thanks to Kim Dawson for the record.



Records for 2014 below this line.

31 August 2014   Many thanks to Barry Blake for this interesting report! "With just three or four previous records for VC105, an overnight catch of 200+ Coast Darts in a single actinic trap at Firemore Beach (near Gairloch in West Ross) on 14 August came as a surprise. It was not a fluke – Barry Blake and Norman Thomas have trapped the same site three times since up to 26 August and never come up with less than 50. Added interest included a trio of worn Archer’s Darts and a small percentage of White-lined Darts. Many thanks to Roy Leverton for his essential advice and guidance on identification. The search continues for the elusive Portland Moth."

9 July 2014 Many thanks to Tony Mainwood for sending in a record of a Swallow-tailed Moth (picture top right)! Tony says: "It was attracted to an MV light last night but was found on the wall of the house rather than in the trap in the garden in Golspie when I went out this morning. The only records in Highland seen to be a handful in the far SW. There is one record from Shetland but otherwise this is the furthest north in Scotland."

30 June 2014 Many thanks to Graham Crittenden for sending in this report: "I was recently sent a moth recording list from an English visitor to Lochinver this June. Among the moths trapped was a Cinnabar which is a first for VC108 and the most northerly record aside from an Orkney record. As the visitor was unaware of the scarcity of Cinnabar in the north he was pleased to hear that it was a first for Sutherland. Graham Crittenden VC108 CMR"

19 June 2014 Many thanks to Malcolm Harvey for sending in his record of a Silvery Arches moth which he had in his trap at Kiltarlity on 19 June.This is only the 5th record ever for this area to the west of the Great Glen and the first since 1988.

10 June 2014 Many thanks to Ann Wickens for her report of a Humming-bird Hawk Moth seen in Fortrose on valerian, on the evening of 10th june 2014! The record is confirmed by Tom Prescott. Grd ref: 727564.

4 June 2014 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk moth seen by Elisabeth Longley near Grantown on June 4th.

24/25 May 2014. Pete Moore has sent in the following interesting salutary tale: "On the weekend of May 24/25 myself and Hilary Swift drove across to Kinloch Hourn on the west coast. It was sunny weather so between Glen Garry and Kinloch Hourn we stopped off here and there along the roadside and recorded whatever butterflies we saw. Plenty of Green Hairstreaks but otherwise nothing remarkable. At the end of the trip I sent the records to David Barbour - the Highland butterfly recorder. I recently heard back from David to learn that I had six new 10km square records for the current 5-year recording period of the "Butterflies of the New Millenium" recording project. However, even more amazing was the fact that three of those records were completely new 10km records for the 20 years that the scheme has been running! The three species in question were Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Green Hairstreak. It just goes to show that even very common species are worth recording, especially in under-populated areas. Never assume that someone else has recorded the common species!"

24 May 2014 Another Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk moth has been sighted by Pete Moore, this time at Kinloch Hourn on the west coast! He also saw Green Hairstreaks at various places along the road from Glen Garry to Kinloch Hourn, May 24 and 25.

19 May 2014 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk moth spotted by Pete Moore at Insh Marshes

15 May 2014 Many thanks to Tom Prescott for this news:  First Chequered  Skipper of the year seen at Glasdrum under the wayleave yesterday (14 May) and possible sighting near Strontian – so their season has started.

12 May 2014 Another sighting of a Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk moth, many thanks to David Lambie for the record! Also a Comma was seen the same day in the same garden near The Heather Centre between Aviemore and Grantown.

7 May 2014 A Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk moth was seen in the garden of Aileen Fox near Nethybridge.

3 May 2014 Numerous whites spotted by Dean MacAskill while walking along the river Nairn, mostly Green-veined but also lots of Orange-tip.

3 May 2014 Red Admiral sighted by Suzanne Gyseman on a bike ride in Assich Forest today, along with 6 Speckled Wood, a Peacock and at least 3 Green-veined Whites..

2 May 2014 Many thanks to Dean MacAskill for his wonderful list of sightings in Culbin Forest today. In an hour and a half, walking through Culbin forest, he spotted 42 Speckled wood, 12 Peacock, 8 Orange tip. 2 Green veined white, 1 Tortoiseshell and a Green Hairstreak!

28 April 2014 Many thanks to Pete Moore for his records of a fantastic SIX species of butterfly seen while walking from North Kessock to Munlochy Bay via Kilmuir today (28 Apr) - Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Orange-tip, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood and Small Copper.

27 April 2014  Many thanks to Steve Terry for his record of a Green Hairstreak spotted near Ord on the Isle of Skye on 27th April.

25 April 2014 An interesting record has just come in from Barry Blake who caught a V-pug in Inverewe Gardens on 25 April. Barry says "Neither I nor Tony Mainwood (my accomplice) had seen this beast before, and it is apparently the most northerly record for this species to date. Brian Neath has no record north of Lochalsh." Barry's photo of the V-pug can be seen on our branch facebook page at

24 April 2014 An exciting record has been sent in by Nigel Richards, of two specimens of Ethmia pyrausta which he found in a confidential site in Strathcarron (VC106) on 24th April 2014, East Ross, at an altitude of approx 350m.

Nigel says: "This is only the 5th British record of this moth. It was first discovered in 1853 on the banks of the River Shin and then rediscovered in 1996 in the Cairngorms, since when single specimens were found at Loch Vrotachan in Aberdeenshire in 2001 and near Loch Morie in 2008."

26 March 2014 Many thanks to Barbara Brodie for her report of the first Peacock butterfly for the season on 26th March 2014.

24 March 2014 The first Small Tortoiseshell of the season reported by Suzanne Gyseman near Inverness.

12 March 2014 Many thanks to Brian Neath for sending in his report of his first decent moth catch of the year in Wester Ross on 12th March. He recorded 35 Mottled Grey, 14 Common Quaker, 8 Yellow Horned, 6 March Moth, 3 Red Sword-grass, 2 Clouded Drab, 2 Chestnut, an Early Grey and a Hebrew Character.

Brian says that this was interesting because one of his regular Skye recorders had nothing on the same night and another recorder, Barry Blake, didn't have his trap out as the weather was so poor in Gairloch.

27 Jan 2014 Brian Neath reported his first January record for Mottled Grey on 27th in Wester Ross, adding that he has often recorded Mottled Grey during the first week of February but the emergence seems to vary considerably from year to year.

Brian said that the Rothampstead records for Wester Ross show a few January records from Beinne Eighe, for example 24th January 1989 and 27th January 1992, yet in some years it was not recorded until March.

Brian reports that he had his first significant catch for the year on 24th February, with 2 March Moth, 8 Dotted Border, 7 Pale Brindled Beauty and 3 Chestnut. Though, strangely no Mottled Grey!

19 Jan 2014   Thanks to Nigel Richards for sharing this very early record of a Mottled Grey, found at an outside light in Kildary, East Ross. Nigel added that its appearance was at least a month earlier than is usual for the area.