Highlands and Islands Trip and Event Reports

Marsh Fritillary

This page details reports of some of our Highlands and Islands Branch trips and events. Please feel free to send in your event accounts or anecdotes!  webmaster@highland-butterflies.org.uk


Lochaline field trip for Blomer’s Rivulet. June 22nd 2014.

Pete Moore

Last year, on 14 June 2013, Mary Eagleson, taking part in a BC Highland branch field trip, found a Blomer’s Rivulet at Lochaline on the Morvern peninsular. This was accepted as the first record of this species for Scotland.

Another branch field trip was organised for this June, 2014, to confirm the presence of Blomer’s Rivulet in the area and if possible get an idea of how numerous and how widespread it is in the area.

On 21 June 2014, five moth traps were run overnight near Lochaline - all near to wych elms, the foodplant of Blomer's Rivulet. Continuous woodland runs along both western and eastern shores of Loch Aline so three traps were set on the western side and two traps on the eastern side. The Blomer’s Rivulet seen last year was at the southern tip of the western side woodland. 

The following morning, a small group of Highland branch members went through the traps. An actinic set close to where Blomer’s was seen last year mysteriously had no moths in it at all. However, an MV trap 800m further along the western shore woodland held 20 Blomer’s and an MV trap a further 900m along (i.e. 1.7km from the site of last year’s site) held 10 Blomer’s.

The two traps on the eastern side of the loch held no Blomer’s, which was surprising. One MV trap on the east side was just 500m from the site of last year’s record, albeit on the opposite side of the loch. 

Further trapping will be required to understand the full extent of Blomer’s in the Lochaline area. However, this year’s trip has confirmed the presence of Blomer’s in this area and learned that there is a healthy but probably quite restricted population of Blomer’s Rivulet at Lochaline. The numbers of wych elm within the woodland seem to dwindle as one moves northwards along the shore, which may account for the lower numbers seen in the more northerly MV trap. But with 20 and 10 individuals within the two traps respectively, it was one of the most numerous species of moth in the traps.

Amazingly, around the time of this visit to Lochaline, Julie Stoneman and Doug Gilbert discovered Blomer’s Rivulet whilst moth-trapping at Invermoriston – 65 miles away from Lochaline!! This surprise discovery of a second site brings into focus the question of how long Blomer’s Rivulet has been in Scotland – has it simply been overlooked and now discovered by chance or is it spreading and increasing in numbers?

Further targeted trapping of areas of wych elm, especially in the west of Scotland, should add more pieces to the Blomer’s Rivulet puzzle!

Naturally, lots of other moth species were found in the field trip traps along with Blomer’s Rivulet – 78 species in all – 64 macro-moths and 14 micro-moths. A good night’s trapping!!

Full moth list below:

 

MACROS                              MICROS

Barred Red

Agapeta hamana

 

 

Beautiful Brocade

Agriphila selasella

Beautiful Golden Y

Agriphila straminella

Blomer's Rivulet

Anania fuscalis

Bright-line Brown-eye

Argyresthia conjugella (Apple Fruit Moth)

Brimstone Moth

Celypha lacunana

Broom Moth

Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden grass-veneer)

Brown Rustic

Epiblema uddmanniana

Brussels Lace

Eucosma cana

Buff Ermine

Nymphula nitidulata (Beautiful China-mark)

Buff-tip

Pandemis cerasana (Barred Fruit-tree Tortrix)

Campion

Platyptilia gonodactyla (Triangle Plume)

Clouded Border

Scoparia ancipitella

Clouded Brindle

Udea olivalis

Common Carpet

 

Common Lutestring

 

Common Rustic agg.

 

Common Wave

 

Common White Wave

 

Coronet

 

Coxcomb Prominent

 

Double Square-spot

 

Drinker

 

Dusky Brocade

 

Elephant Hawk-moth

 

Flame Shoulder

 

Foxglove Pug

 

Gold Swift

 

Green Arches

 

Green Carpet

 

Grey Arches

 

Grey Pug

 

Heart and Dart

 

Iron Prominent

 

Large Yellow Underwing

 

Light Emerald

 

Lychnis

 

Map-winged Swift

 

Middle-barred Minor

 

Mottled Beauty

 

Oblique Carpet

 

Pale Prominent

 

Pale-shouldered Brocade

 

Peach Blossom

 

Peacock Moth

 

Pebble Prominent

 

Peppered Moth

 

Poplar Hawk-moth

 

Purple Clay

 

Riband Wave

 

Sandy Carpet

 

Satin Beauty

 

Scalloped Hazel

 

Silver-ground Carpet

 

Small Angle Shades

 

Small Dotted Buff

 

Small Fan-foot

 

Small Phoenix

 

Small Square-spot

 

Smoky Wainscot

 

Spectacle

 

Tawny-barred Angle

 

True Lover's Knot

 

White Ermine

 

Pete Moore


Glenborrodale RSPB reserve field trip, Ardnamurchan.  June 15 2014

Following hot on the heels of the Carna Island field trip came another Ardnamurchan moth event. Four light traps were run at RSPB’s Glenborrodale oakwood reserve on the night of June 14. The following morning, seven folk met up to go through the traps. 

A total of 58 macro-moth and 18 micro-moth species were recorded, a good night’s trapping.

MACROS

barred red

beautiful golden Y

birch mocha

bright-line brown-eye

brimstone

broken-barred carpet

brown rustic

brown silver-line

buff ermine

buff-tip

campion

chestnut-coloured carpet

clouded border

clouded-bordered brindle

clouded silver

common lutestring

common marbled carpet

common pug

common white wave

coxcomb prominent

drinker

flame carpet

flame shoulder

foxglove pug

gold swift

green carpet

green silver-lines

grey arches

ingrailed clay

 

 

iron prominent

knot grass

light emerald

map-winged swift

mottled beauty

narrow-winged pug

nut-tree tussock

pale-shouldered brocade

peach blossom

peacock

peppered

poplar hawkmoth

purple clay

satin lutestring

saxon

scalloped hazel

scorched wing

silver hook

silver-ground carpet

small angle-shades

small dotted buff

small phoenix

smoky wave

spectacle

tawny speckled pug

true lovers knot

water carpet

white ermine

yellow-barred brindle

 

 

MICROS

Ancylis laetana

Apotomis turbidana

Argyresthia conjugella

Caloptilia alchimiella

Carpatolechia alburnella

Celypha lacunana

Chrysoteuchia culmella

Elachista albifrontella

Epinotia bilunana

Eucosma cana

Eulia ministrana

Lathronympha strigana

Neofaculta ericetella

Orthotaenia undulana

Pandemis cerasana

Parornix loganella

Scoparia ambigualis

Swammerdamia caesiella

 

Pete Moore

 

Isle of Carna field-trip, June 2014

Pete Moore

The Isle of Carna is a privately owned 600 acre island in Loch Sunart just off the Ardnamurchan peninsula. It is being managed for its wildlife and so the owner and boatman/caretaker invited us onto the island to find out what was there in the way of butterflies and moths.

Four of us were taken across to the island on the afternoon of Friday 13 June to set up a total of nine moth traps. Most were sited in the area of the three cottages on the south side of the island but with the help of a small boat, a few were set up in an area of birchwood along the coast to the west of the cottages. Different habitats were targeted with the aim of increasing the number of moth species caught. Traps were set in or near birchwood, pinewood, boggy willow scrub, flowery meadow, bog myrtle, saltmarsh, heather and general rough vegetation. The traps were fired up at dusk and we spent the night in one of the cottages. It was a perfect night for moths (and midges) – warm, calm and overcast. Incidentally, there is a cottage available to rent on the island - see the website: www.isleofcarna.co.uk.

 We got up early in the morning to switch off and cover up the traps. A further eight folk came over on the morning of Saturday 14 June to see what was in the traps and have a wander to look for butterflies. There were so many moths in the traps that it took all day, with hardly a break, to go through them! A total of 76 macro-moths and 12 micro-moths were identified. Although it was mild, there was little sun and only 4 species of butterfly were seen – orange-tip, red admiral, green-veined white and small heath. Moth list below:

 
 
MACRO MOTHS                 MICRO MOTHS      
barred red                          Argyresthia brockkeela      
beautiful brocade               Argyresthia goedartella      
beautiful golden Y              Caloptilia alchimiella      
birch mocha                       Celypha lacunana      
bordered white                   Chrysoteuchia culmella      
bright-line brown-eye         Crambus ericella      
brimstone                           Crambus lathoniellus      
broken-barred carpet         Hellinsia tephradactyla      
broom                                Mompha raschkiella      
brown rustic                       Notocelia uddmanniana      
brown silver-line                Opostega salaciella      
buff ermine                        Pandemis cerasana      
buff-tip          
campion          
chimney sweeper          
clouded buff          
clouded-bordered brindle          
common marbled carpet          
common wave          
common white wave          
common/lesser common rustic          
dark brocade          
drinker          
dusky brocade          
elephant hawkmoth          
emperor          
flame carpet          
flame shoulder          
four-dotted footman          
foxglove pug          
garden carpet          
gold swift          
green arches          
green carpet          
grey arches          
grey dagger          
grey pine carpet          
grey scalloped bar          
ingrailed clay          
knot grass          
light emerald          
light knot-grass          
map-winged swift          
middle-barred minor          
mottled beauty          
narrow-winged pug          
northern eggar          
pale-shouldered brocade          
peach blossom          
peacock          
pebble hook-tip          
pebble prominent          
peppered          
poplar hawkmoth          
poplar kitten          
purple clay          
red twin-spot carpet          
rustic shoulder-knot          
satin lutestring          
saxon          
scalloped hazel          
shears          
silver hook          
silver-ground carpet          
small angle shades          
small argent and sable          
small clouded brindle          
small dotted buff          
small phoenix          
small square-spot          
smoky wainscot          
spectacle          
spruce carpet          
true lover's knot          
welsh wave          
white ermine         
        

ROSEMARKIE CLIFFS Sunday 20 July 2014

Once again the forecast wasn’t promising, heavy rain and possible thunderstorms.  However there were six of us who met at the seafront, hoping that it wouldn’t be too bad.  It was slightly dull and overcast as we set out, but the clouds soon started to lift and it turned into a gloriously warm and sunny day.

We walked along the beach to start with seeing a Green-veined White, but soon turned onto a path which parallels the beach with farmland on the other side.  As we walked along we saw a few Ringlets and Meadow Browns, a single Scotch Argus, Common Blue and Small Tortoiseshell as well as the micro moth Agriphila straminella and macro moths Shaded Broad-bar, Small Fan-footed Wave and Silver-ground Carpet amongst others.

The farmland soon gave way to rougher ground with hills beyond and we heard the sound of a Peregrine calling, probably a juvenile, and shortly afterwards saw three Peregrines flying overhead.

We reached the end of the path and took to the beach again with steeper slopes and cliffs to our left.  We spotted a couple of fairly large Buddleia bushes and decided to push through the bracken covered slopes for a closer look.

It turned out to be a wise choice as we saw 8 species of butterfly around the lowest bush including Grayling, Speckled Wood, Large White and Red Admiral.  After spending a while there, we moved on round the cliffs looking for suitable habitat for our target species, Northern Brown Argus. 

At this point the going became a bit tougher, scrambling over rocks, and a couple of us lagged behind a bit.  However we spotted a very small patch of Common Rockrose on the cliff, the larval foodplant of the Northern Brown Argus and a single adult.

We caught up with the others and after having lunch, when we saw a couple of Dolphins a fair distance off-shore, we re-traced our steps and had a good look at the cliff.  We soon spotted more Common Rockrose and watched at least four Northern Brown Argus butterflies including a mating pair.

We returned the same way and added Small Heath to our butterfly list making a total of twelve species, certainly the most I’ve seen on any butterfly walks.

Species list:

Butterflies
Green-veined White                  
Ringlet                            
Scotch Argus                       
Meadow Brown                                           
Small Tortoiseshell                 
Speckled Wood                 
Red Admiral                     
Grayling                     
Common Blue                     
Large White                     
Northern Brown Argus
Small Heath  

Moths:          
Agriphila straminella       
Shaded Broad-bar       
Small Fan-footed Wave           
Silver-ground Carpet           
Udea lutealis   
Riband Wave           
Common Rustic agg
Large Yellow Underwing
Mother of Pearl

Others: Cardinal Beetles, Seven-spot Ladybirds, Robin's Pincushion Gall

Audrey Turner

 

MOTH MANIA – RSPB INSH MARSHES - JULY 26

This was a joint BC & RSPB moth-trapping event with a two-fold objective. Firstly, it was part of annual monitoring of the rare Dark Bordered Beauty moth, RSPB Insh Marshes being one of only three Scottish sites where this species is found. Secondly, it gave members of the public a chance to see this gorgeous moth, along with many other species.

About 20 people attended and they split into three groups, with Tom Prescott (BC), Mike Taylor (County moth recorder) and Pete Moore (RSPB Warden) as the leaders. Each group looked through two moth traps that had been run the night before. It had been very mild and calm the previous night – good conditions for moths – and there were about 50 moth species in each trap. The full species list will be added to this report in due course but in addition to Dark Bordered Beauty, highlights included Blue-bordered Carpet and Slender Brindle, the latter very scarce this far north.

After lunch, a smaller group walked the Invertromie trail to look for butterflies but the long hot sunny spell of weather that we had been enjoying for the previous week decided to end now. It became cloudy and a bit breezy but it remained warm though and butterflies continued to be active in sheltered places. During the day we saw Dark Green and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell, Northern Brown Argus, Scotch Argus, Small Heath and Green-veined White. Moth highlight of the walk was Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk moth larva spotted by the eagle-eyed James Hammond.

Thanks go to the RSPB Insh Marshes volunteers who helped put the moth traps out the day before and then cover them up early on the morning of the event.

Pete Moore


Mountain Ringlet at Meall Liath 15 July 2014

This trip was postponed from the weekend due to unsuitable weather.  The forecast for Tuesday the 15th looked promising, so it was decided to go ahead with it even though there would only be two of us going.

We walked up a forest track climbing steadily through the trees until we left the track and started a steeper climb alongside a burn which runs down the middle of a grassy ride between the trees.  I found an ordinary Ringlet in the grass by the side of the burn, so at least one butterfly was about.

We got to the top of the treeline without finding anything else and went through a gate to start searching the area where the butterflies have been seen previously.  The wind was a lot stronger this high up with quite a cold edge to it; it was also quite cloudy with occasional sunny spells.

Despite searching extensively for a couple of hours, all that was seen was a Grey Mountain Carpet moth and a Small Heath butterfly.  As we were sitting eating lunch, I spotted a few Heather Flies – Bibio pomonae.  We resumed searching after lunch for a short while, but found nothing so decided to head back down.

On the way back down the side of the burn, I spotted a brown butterfly low down in the grass, thinking it was probably just a Ringlet, I knelt down for a closer look just in case.  Success at last, it was a slightly tatty Mountain Ringlet!

After we admired it for a few minutes and I took some photos, we carried on downhill searching carefully, but all we saw were a couple more Small Heaths, a Ringlet and the micro moth Udea lutealis.

When we were just a few minutes away from the car, I spotted an Adder curled up in short vegetation by the side of the track, the first one I’ve ever seen.

Full species list;
Butterflies;              Moths;                               Others;

Mountain Ringlet       Grey Mountain Carpet        Adder
Ringlet                      Udea lutealis                       Common Frog
Small Heath                                                          Heather Fly
                                                                             Roe Deer   

Audrey Turner       


Moth Night 2014 at Spinningdale 5th July

As in 2012, five battery operated traps were set at various points on the Woodland Trust’s Ledmore and Migdale Woods property. This time they were within 400m of the recently constructed shelter at Torry Croft. Unfortunately the weather overnight was clear, with a half moon and was decidedly cool (Fay Wilkinson had recorded just 5 degrees in her garden a few miles away). As a result the number of moths caught was very limited.

The event was billed as a joint Butterfly Conservation/Woodland Trust one and Juliet Robinson was the official Woodland Trust representative promoting the event locally and providing the signage and First Aid backup on the day. As it turned most of the participants were Highland Branch members and there were 10 of us in all (two other folk, who were actually holidaying at Loch Carron, had unfortunately underestimated the time needed for travelling and only met up with us as we were departing.)

It was very much a case of spinning things out with chat and as everyone knew everyone it ended up as an enjoyable social get together even though there were only 25 moths of just 10 species! Even then two Chestnut-coloured Carpets were of particular interest as even some of the seasoned moth recorders had not seen one before.

Species list                      No.
Silver-ground Carpet           2
Northern Spinach                4
Chestnut-coloured Carpet   2
Green Carpet                      2
Magpie Moth                       1
Mottled Beauty                    5
Barred Red                         1
True Lover's Knot               3
Ingrailed Clay                     4
Smoky Wainscot                 1

Tony Mainwood July 2014


Balintore & Shandwick 2 July 2014

Despite a very poor forecast eight people gathered at the meeting place in Balintore.  Just before we set out, there was a light shower of rain which luckily was brief and then it stayed fair for the rest of the walk.  It was however, dull, overcast and very windy, not the best weather for seeing butterflies and moths.

We persevered and after walking along a path just above the beach, we crossed a fence into a grassy area which was more sheltered.  We hoped we’d have more chance of seeing butterflies here.  Our party was joined by another two people at this point and we saw a couple of Ringlets and a Meadow Brown.  We also found some Robin’s Pincushion galls on Dog Rose, the galls are formed after the gall wasp Diplolepis rosae lays it’s eggs in a bud in the spring.

We crossed back over a stile near a bench with a Bus Stop sign and started walking along a narrow path through some very high vegetation; the bracken was taller than me in places! (5 foot 6 inches)!  It was tricky going as it is narrow and steep in places.  On some of the more open areas there were plenty of interesting plants, Common Rockrose, Biting Stonecrop, Wild Thyme and Carline Thistle, but no butterflies although a Snout Moth was seen as was a Yellow Shell.

We eventually came back onto the beach near a spring called Tobar na Slainte, or The Well of Health.  Unfortunately the stonework surrounding the well was damaged in winter storms in 2012.  We stopped there for lunch as it was fairly sheltered from the wind.

We returned the same way but saw a few more butterflies and moths on the way back, including a Speckled Wood, a Six-spot Burnet, more Ringlets and Meadow Browns and a very small Poplar Hawk-moth caterpillar.

Full Species List;
Butterflies;                 Moths;                                 Others;
Meadow Brown             Poplar Hawk-moth larva        Seven-spot Ladybird
Ringlet                         Six-spot Burnet
Speckled Wood            Snout   
                                     Yellow Shell  

Audrey Turner.


LYNWILG, ALLT NA CRICHE PATH - Sat 17 May

Many thanks Audrey for your directions.

Before the Scripture Union building I heard a singing male Pied Flycatcher. & got to see it. I was really pleased with myself that I recognised the song after not hearing it for many years. I also watched the parachute display of Tree Pipit. & heard Cuckoo.

I managed to take some lovely movie footage on my mobile fone of close-up of a common shrew on the tarmac road. Stunning wee creature.

The day was breezy & overcast & chilly. So, although there was no bright sunshine Common Heath moths were especially active & abundant above the tree line. I was intrigued to notice how variable specimens were in tones. Regrettably no Pearl-bordered Fritillary’s were observed.

At 2pm it started to drizzle. So, back at Aviemore for 3.30

Sadly, no-one else turned up at the meeting point. I had the day to myself. It was just me. Nonetheless, I had a really wonderful wildlife walk.

Mark Wynn

 

Silverdale, 23 - 26th May 2014. A small group of Highland Branch members had a most successful weekend away in Silverdale, South Cumbria.

On their first day the Chairman of the Cumbria Branch very kindly took us to the best places to discover butterflies & moths in this area of outstanding natural beauty. Each site visited exhibited a very different precious landscape. & he could have recommended another 10!!! sites. However, that was enough to keep our group busy. The good news was that they’re all very close. No long drives. & all very accessible. Some we could easily ‘self-guide’. However, we were immensely grateful for his tips at other sites.
 
The following day we went to a very favourable site in search of Duke of Burgundy Fritillary – & were successful in seeing this very attractive wee insect, together with Dingy Skipper. For some the highlight was observing a spectacular long horn moth – Nemophora degeerella. The male was especially stunning.
 
After their evening meal the group were given a power-point presentation on the re-establishment of colonies of Marsh Fritillary in Cumbria. Finishing up with some breath-taking magic !!! (Marsh Fritillary pictured at top of page, photo by Ewan Munro)
 
The following day the Highland Branch group joined the Cumbria Branch for their AGM + various talks. However, the first event was the opening of moth traps. & some real delights were to be observed (list to follow). Moreover, as part of the day we walked a number of a farmer’s fields where in the sunshine literally dozens of Marsh Fritillaries were freshly emerging. Awesome. & some were lucky to see Forester moths too.

Later that same day we were taken to a brown field site – wind factory – & got to see Small Blues & Wall Browns, amongst others butterflies.
 
Our last day we explored a site with panoramic views shown to us on that first afternoon. Here, Fritillaries were flitting about. At first the consensus was they were Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Then we were challenged by a another butterfly enthusiast’s photo taken minutes earlier. From his snap he was convinced they were Pearl-bordered Fritillaries. Ahhhhhh well. A Green Hairstreak was spotted as well as a small number of female Brimstones butterflies & at least one male.
 
All in all a wonderful sojourn. & thanks to the party’s convivial company.

Mark Wynn