An overlooked yet beautiful butterfly has been seen in much greater numbers than normal this year, Butterfly Conservation (BC) Scotland can reveal.
The wildlife charity has received sightings of the Green Hairstreak in a number of new locations, including the most recent at a small pond in Logierait Wood near Pitlochry in Perth and Kinross.
The butterfly was spotted on Saturday 20 June by BC Scotland’s ‘Bog Squad’ team - a volunteer task force created to carry out rehabilitation works on damaged peat bogs across the Scottish Central Belt, with funding from Scottish Natural Heritage’s Peatland ACTION project.
Bog Squad Project Officer David Hill said: “I spotted it to the right of the pond, where we’ve been helping block an old drainage ditch which was causing this rare damselfly’s breeding area to dry out.
“The butterfly is unmistakable with its bright green-coloured underwings and even though it’s been recorded in neighbouring areas, this is the first time it has ever been seen on the Logierait Mire.”
Logierait Mire is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a place of key wildlife importance situated in the hills above Pitlochry. The area is also home to butterflies like the Comma, Dark Green Fritillary and the rare Pearl-bordered Fritillary.
The Green Hairstreak is found in many parts of the UK, but it has been under-recorded in Scotland for some time. This year BC Scotland has received more sightings of the butterfly than ever before, with a number of new locations being reported to the wildlife charity.
David added: “Seeing this butterfly really was a bonus to an already successful day, which saw volunteers create two dams to help the pond retain more water – a habitat which is vital to the survival of the rare Northern Damselfly.”
The Green Hairstreak can be seen on the wing for the next couple of weeks only, as it is traditionally a spring butterfly. It favours heathland areas, but can also be found on moorland, chalk downland, scrubby hillsides and disused railway lines. Despite its upperwings being brown in colour, these are rarely seen as the butterfly always settles with its wings firmly closed, revealing the jade-green colour of its underwings.
If you would like to volunteer with the Bog Squad, please contact David Hill, Bog Squad Project Officer, on: 07787 989 793 or email: @email
The British Dragonfly Society (BDS) encourages the study and conservation of dragonflies and their natural habitats, especially in the United Kingdom. If you spot any dragonflies this summer, please let them know at: www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/submit-records
Alternatively, if you'd like to speak to someone from the BDS or have any photos you would like to send, please email Daniele Muir at: @email or call: 07749 768 117.