Sunday 13th June 2021, 10:30am-4:00pm

Free Zoom Workshop


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

55.589188, -4.663245

Small Blue Surveys in Ayrshire


Sunday 13th June

10.30am – 4pm


Monday 14th June

10.30am – 4pm


Small Blue is Scotland’s smallest butterfly and is therefore easily overlooked due to its size but also its dusky colouration.  In Scotland Small Blue is primarily a coastal species with isolated colonies along the east coast from Caithness in the far north, around the Moray Firth, Angus, and Berwickshire in the south.  It also occurs inland in Badenoch and Strathspey, and at a single location on the west coast near Ayr following a recent reintroduction.

It is associated with sand dunes and undercliffs but also occurs at a few inland sites on river shingles, old railway lines and other brownfield sites e.g. old quarries.  Furthermore, it is totally reliant upon Kidney Vetch, it being its sole caterpillar foodplant.


Small Blue is a High Priority species in Butterfly Conservation Scotland’s Conservation Strategy.  It is therefore important we determine its current status and improve its monitoring.

Ayrshire Small Blue Project

Butterfly Conservation Scotland is currently working in partnership with the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Irvine to Girvan Nectar Network to enhance the habitat, and thus the future, of the recently introduced population of Small Blues in Ayrshire.  The original reintroduction occurred in 2013 on the Trust’s Gailes Marsh reserve near Irvine and has been a partial success, with the butterfly also becoming established on some of the adjacent golf courses.  However, recent casual surveys have revealed concerns over a crash in Kidney Vetch, as several patches have disappeared, probably due to an increase in rabbits.  Therefore, more detailed surveys are required to determine the current status of both the butterfly and especially its foodplant.  It is hoped that this will also help identify sites where further Kidney Vetch can be planted and encouraged, as well as sites where it can be protected from rabbits by fencing, a vital step to help inform the next stages in the project.

Field Survey Information and Booking

We will meet at the Trust’s Gailes Marsh reserve where we will split into smaller groups to cover around ten sites between Irvine and Troon.  Anyone is welcome to attend, whether you have attended the Zoom training or not, or whether you can only make part of each/any day. 

Due to Covid-19 restrictions it is essential that you let us know you are planning to attend all or part of the survey day(s).  To book a place please complete and submit our Online Virtual Outside Event 2021 Booking Form which can be found here

Directions to Gailes Marsh Reserve

Leave the A78(T) at the Newhouse Roundabout and take the first exit signposted for Irvine.  Go straight ahead at the next roundabout.  The reserve is a short distance along Marine Drive, on the opposite side of the road to Glasgow Gailes Golf Club.  Park on the grass beside the short lane off the access road to Western Gailes Golf Course.  (Grid reference NS322360, Postcode KA11 5AE).

For more information contact

Tom Prescott, Butterfly Conservation Scotland

Email: @email

Tel: 01540 661469.  Mob: 07979 785665.

This event is being delivered through the Garnock Connections Landscape Partnership, which is funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund.  We would also like to thank several local golf courses for their encouraging support and permission for surveys to be undertaken on their courses.