Friday 27th May 2022, 10:30am-4:00pm

Field Survey Day


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

55.589188, -4.663245

Small Blue Surveys in Ayrshire


Friday 27th May

10.30am – 4pm


Saturday 28th May

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, there have been concerns over a crash in Kidney Vetch, as several patches have disappeared, probably due to an increase in rabbits.  Therefore, detailed surveys were undertaken in 2021 to map the location and extent of Kidney Vetch plants and density of flowering seedheads. 

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.  We will target sites where the highest densities of Kidney Vetch and seedheads were recorded. 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. 

Booking is not essential but it would be useful to know if you intend to come along to help us plan how many sites we can survey on the day.  Therefore if you are thinking of coming along please contact Tom.

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.