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saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Latest news archive

Items from January to June 2009 appear on this page.

Items from previous years have been archived, but can still be accessed by clicking the links below:
| Jan - Jun 2008 | Jul - Aug 2008 | Sep - Nov 2008 | July - Nov 2009 | Feb - June 2010 | Jul - Dec 2010 | Jan - June 2011 | July - Dec 2011 | Jan - June 2012 | July - Sep 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021  | 2022

29/06/2009 David Paterson observed clouds of Magpie Moths while fishing on Aultbea Estate in week beginning 22/06/2009. See moths of the month - July. They were hidden from view in the heather and took to the wing when he passed through.
25/06/2009 Stephen Jones reports seeing over 20 Large Heath on a route across boggy moorland from Cove to Rubha Reidh lighthouse, north of Gairloch.
23/06/2009 Caledonian Canal, InvernessOn the canal banks between Inverness and Dochgarroch (distance 7 Km), 1 Meadow Brown, 1 Small Copper, 4 Common Blues (males), 1 Painted Lady and 10 'whites' (1 Large White, the others mostly Green-veined) were seen. Weather warm, sunny with light breeze.

Coastal path from Spey Bay to PortgordonOn the coastal path from Spey Bay to Portgordon, 6 Small Blues, 6 Common Blues (males), 13 Painted Ladies and 1 Green-veined White were seen.

On the east side of Portgordon, between the shore and the main road, there were 10 Small Blues, 5 Six-spot Burnet moths and 1 Painted Lady.

18/06/2009 George Mair reports 2 Small Blues and a male Common Blue near the Whale's Mouth, Portknockie (NJ 495 684). He says the Small Blue can still be found in large numbers at the site reported on 01/06/2009.

The following observations were made at Culbin Forest, Moray, between 11:00 and 15:00:

Dingy Skipper from Moray Coast (photo by Scott Shanks)4 Dingy Skipper, 2 Small Heath and 1 Mother Shipton at Lake of Moy, NJ 017 622.

2 Dingy Skipper at NJ 018 625.

3 Speckled Wood at NJ 021 629. These were the only ones seen and had a faded appearance.

1 Small White at NJ 031 644.

Dingy Skipper habitat (photo by Bill Slater)

6 Dingy Skipper, 2 Small Blue, 1 Common Blue (male) at side of forest track with birds-foot trefoil and kidney vetch, NJ 027 642 (see middle photo). At this point the track turns north-westerly towards Buckie Loch, with patches of birds-foot trefoil along its verges. At every patch there were Dingy Skippers, typically in numbers of 2 - 4. There was also 1 Peacock with faded and damaged wings.

2 Dingy Skipper, 6 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 1 Small Copper, 2 Six-spot Burnet moths at Buckie Loch, NJ 004 645.

Dingy Skipper foodplant on preferred terrain (photo by Bill Slater)

5 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 1 Small Heath further west at NH 997 644.

Along the route (the same as that taken on 14th and 22nd April, 13th May) 8 Painted Ladies were seen.

Thanks to Scott Shanks for the photo of the Dingy Skipper.

The photo opposite shows the Dingy Skipper's larval foodplant, birds-foot trefoil, growing on terrain at Culbin Forest preferred by the butterfly.


Sue Murray sent an email reporting heaps of Painted Ladies in her garden and elsewhere in Boat of Garten.

14/06/2009 2 Painted Ladies in Inverness garden, NH 646 461.
13/06/2009 'Where have the butterflies gone?' asks a Nairn resident who has seen no butterflies in his garden in the past fortnight. Similar garden reports from elsewhere along Moray Firth coast, including Inverness.

Thanks to Scott Shanks for the following report and photos:

Small Blue at Spey Bay (photo by Scott Shanks)On Friday the 12th of June I walked from the SWT Spey Bay reserve at Kingston on Spey along the Moray coast towards Lossiemouth (about 4km) recording butterflies with GPS. NJ34042 65502 to NJ30287 66916. Fantastic sunny weather. Had a massive count of 117 Small Blues including 2 mating pairs (about 51 individuals within the area of the reserve), 80 Dingy Skippers (many looking very fresh), 12 Small Pearl- bordered Fritillaries (all were about NJ307666), 15 Painted Ladies, 2 Small Heath, 2 Small White, 1 Small Copper. Plus a Wood Tiger, Mother Shiptons, and a lone Six-spot Burnet.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (photo by Scott Shanks)

The upper photo shows a Small Blue, and the lower one a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.


One Painted Lady seen in Scorguie area of Inverness, NH646 461, at 08:30. Two specimens reported at Portknockie, NJ492 684, during afternoon, by George Mair. Brian Neath also saw two at Drumbuie, near Plockton.

As predicted, the migration spread throughout Moray and Highland over the weekend, although the numbers of specimens reported to this website have all been in single figures. On the main Butterfly Conservation website there's a map of sightings, which shows the migration has reached the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, and even the Faroe Islands.

Two separate reports of Small Blue (60 or more) at Portknockie, NJ 491 687, from Roy Leverton and George Mair.


Painted Lady (photo by Jane Bowman)Jane Bowman recorded her first Painted Lady of the year at Glen Moriston early this morning, and by afternoon her count had increased to 6.

30/05/2009 Brian Neath recorded 6 Painted Lady butterflies at Balmacara.
27/05/2009 Narrow-bordered  Bee Hawkmoth (photo by Jane Bowman)Jane Bowman took this photo of a Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth in her garden at Glen Moriston at 8.30 this morning.

Brian Neath reported a Pearl-bordered Fritillary in his garden this morning followed by 23 on the Carr Brae (Lochalsh) transect this afternoon. This was his second highest count after the 24 seen on 27th May 2004. Only 10 other butterflies seen on the transect - 7 Green-veined White, 2 Speckled Wood and a Green Hairstreak.

A Pearl-bordered Fritillary reported from Strathconon (www.hbrg.org.uk).

At the eastern end of Culbin Forest (Moray) the most numerous species was Speckled Wood. For example on the track from Wellhill car park to Lake of Moy, between 12:15 and 12:45, 11 Speckled Wood, 5 Green-veined White, 3 Peacock, and 1 Orange Tip were counted. An easterly wind strengthened during the afternoon and there was nothing to see in exposed areas such as Buckie Loch. No Green Haistreaks seen at any stage.

Les Bates reports 5 Red Admirals from the Torridon Kitchen Garden. Pair of Orange Tips still present.

12/05/2009 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Rogart (photo by Tony Mainwood)Tony Mainwood counted 11 Pearl-bordered Fritillary at Rogart, SE Sutherland, today.

Brian Neath reported an Orange Tip at 350 metres alt in the Dornie area.

Les Bates, Head Gardener at the Torridon, reports a pair of Orange Tips from Monday 11th onwards in Torridon Kitchen Garden, strong south easterly winds, temp reaching 25 centigrade, clear sunny. Les has various food plants including Jack in the Hedge in some of the biodiversity plots in the Kitchen Garden.

Green Hairstreak (photo by Helen Mainwood)Helen Mainwood submitted these photos of a Green Hairstreak and Small Copper, which she took at Loch Fleet, SE Sutherland, today.

Small Copper (photo by Helen Mainwood)

On the first sunny day of the month, Brian Neath recorded 5 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, a Peacock, 2 Green Hairstreaks, 2 Green-veined White and 4 Speckled Wood on his Carr Brae transect, near Dornie, Lochalsh. He also saw an Orange Tip in his garden, not a regular species on Carr Brae although common in other nearby areas.

Thanks to Duncan Murchison for reporting a male Orange Tip at Toscaig, Applecross, in an area of mixed moorland with some oak trees and scrub. He also heard of one being seen at Applecross River, roughly 5 miles further north.

09/05/2009 Another early Red Admiral reported at Strathpeffer (www.hbrg.org.uk)
25/04/2009 Brimstone Moth (photo by Roy LevertonThanks to Brian Neath for the following record: "I have just received a record of a Brimstone Moth at Ullapool on 25th April from Max Pittman. This appears to be the first April record of the species in Wester Ross. There are relatively few records in the first half of May so this is a very early record."
22/04/2009 At Culbin Forest, on a route from Wellhill car park to Lake of Moy, then north to Buckie Loch, there were 28 Peacock, 1 Small Tortoiseshell (NJ 027 643), 1 male Orange Tip (NJ 024 633) and 4 Speckled Wood (NH 997 639, NH 998 645).
19/04/2009 Ringed Carpet and Rannoch Brindled Beauty (photo by Jane Bowman)Jane Bowman reports "After a few days of Peacock and Small Tortoiseshells in my Glen Moriston garden, I finally had Green-veined White and Green Hairstreak today, 19/04.

"Also today on my walk on local hills I saw my first Common Heath moths and on their usual fence posts the Rannoch Brindled Beauty moths which first emerged mid March this year. Last year one post had Ringed Carpet and Rannoch Brindled Beauty( female) at either end of a post, this year they went one better and both were at the top end (see opposite). The post was only 2 up the line from last year's!!!"


Green-veined White visiting garden, Inverness NH 646 461 (first butterfly seen there this year). Small White, same place, on 19/04/2009.

Highland Biological Recording Group website www.hbrg.org.uk reports "Another first for the season was a male Orange-tip at Strathpeffer."


Speckled Wood at Culbin (photo by Bill Slater)At Culbin Forest, on a route east from Wellhill car park then north to Buckie Loch, between 11:00 and 15:00, I counted 11 Peacock and 1 Speckled Wood (opposite). 9 of the Peacock were seen near Buckie Loch. The Speckled Wood was seen at NJ 000 641. No signs of Green Hairstreak yet. Weather mainly sunny with easterly breeze.
Bill Slater

Highland Biological Recording Group website www.hbrg.org.uk reports "A welcome change from the hordes of Peacock butterflies in the garden at Streathpeffer came from the first Small Tortoiseshell to appear there this year, and a surprise early Red Admiral.


A Green-veined White at Golspie and one at Brora, SE Sutherland (A Vittery).Green-veined White, Golspie (photo by  A Vittery)

11/04/2009 Fergus McKinnon reported a Green-veined White at Delnies, Nairn.
04/04/2009 Sandy MacPhee, Highland Council ranger, found an exceptionally early Small Pheonix moth, Ecliptopera silaceata, indoors at Ostaig, Skye. Sandy submitted her record to Brian Neath, whose earliest date for this species was 21st April. Waring and Townsend give the flight period as May/June, suggesting that it may have emerged indoors.

Peacock on drumstick primula (photo by Les Bates)More Peacock sightings at Torridon this week by Les Bates, who sent this photo of a Peacock on drumstick primulas.

Overnight temperatures were 5C, rising to 10C by 8:00 am, and to 18C+ during the day.


Les Bates, Head Gardener at The Torridon, recorded 4 Peacock butterflies in The Torridon kitchen garden today. Outdoor temperatures at the gardens rose to over 14C, while those in the greenhouse exceeded 30C. Les is managing nettlebeds around the grounds to encourage butterflies like the Peacock, and is looking at ways of creating habitats that are attractive to other species.


Peacock Butterfly (photo by Tony Mainwood)There were several reports of Peacock butterflies today:

2 at Kerracher near Kylesku, NW Sutherland (NC179348), Peter Kohn
1 at Achnahandarach, near Plockton, Wester Ross, Brian Neath
1 at Kishorn, Wester Ross (NG828422), Murdo Macdonald
1 at Muirton, near Cromarty, Easter Ross (NH741640), Ro Scott
3 at Little Rogart, SE Sutherland (NC734042), Tony Mainwood

18/03/2009 Brian Neath trapped 152 moths of 15 species at Lochalsh, his first large catch of the year. Species included Yellow Horned (17), Mottled Grey (15), Brindled Pug (9), Dotted Border (8), Common Quaker (39) as well as the first Double-striped Pugs, Small Quakers and Red Swordgrass of the year. (Links to Moths of the Month pages).
04/03/2009 Ron Graham saw a Small Tortoiseshell at Dingwall.

Paul Castle, Highland Council Countryside Ranger for North Sutherland, found a dead Peacock butterfly on the beach at Farr Bay, at the high tide mark. He described it as in reasonable condition considering the time of year.

Farr Bay is on the north coast of Sutherland, near Bettyhill. The grid ref is NC713625.

17/02/2009 Brian Neath reports the first decent moth night of the year, when 29 moths came to his light trap in the Lochalsh area on the west coast: 10 March Moth, 8 Mottled Grey, 5 Dotted Border, 3 Pale Brindled Beauty, 3 Chestnut.
31/01/2009 Small Tortoiseshell (photo by Bill Slater)David Jardine saw a Small Tortoiseshell at Achnashellach, Wester Ross.

Here is an extract from the Portknockie Village Newspaper, Vol 10, Issue 3, Easter 2009:

Red Admiral (photo by Bill Slater)"I could hardly believe my eyes when on the 9th of January I saw a red admiral butterfly flitting about in the sunshine before coming to rest on a corrugated roof where it continued to bask in the warmth. That must be the earliest I have ever seen one I think."

The writer is Mary Thorpe, who regularly contributes nature notes to the publication.

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