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||At around 11:00, 1 Red Admiral seen in Inverness at NH 646 461. Weather sunny, no wind, remnants of early morning frost.
||Angle Shades Phlogophora meticulosa (see moths of the month, October 2008) found at rest on door at NJ 492 684 (Portknockie).
||A sunny spell before midday in Inverness brought out Red Admirals (2) at NH 646 461.
||Continuing mild temperatures mean that there are still Red Admirals to be seen in gardens in the Inverness and Moray areas. Also at Carrbridge.
||Thanks to Pete Moore for report of 2 Red Admirals at RSPB Insh Marshes.
||3 Red Admirals seen at Culbin Forest. Weather at midday sunny and warm. Nectar sources, eg heather, 'died back'. One butterfly seeking nourishment from rotting fungus.
Still a few Red Admirals on the wing - a report today from Insh village, near Kingussie; also seen this week around Inverness and along Moray coast.
With mild temperatures expected to continue in w/c 26 October there could be further late sightings of butterflies. If you see any, please tell us about them!
At Culbin Forest on the same route taken on 09/09, 25 Scotch Argus, 17 Speckled Wood, 10 Peacock, 8 Red Admiral, 7 Painted Lady, 1 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 female Common Blue were seen.
Scotch Argus and Speckled Wood tended to occur in clusters, whereas Peacock, Red Admiral and Painted Lady appeared more randomly dispersed, often nectaring on heather blossom. The Common Blue, which looked fresh, was found near Wellhill car park, at NH 998 616.
Although sunny, the temperature in the forest felt cooler compared with the previous week.
At Culbin Forest, on a route from Wellhill car park to Lake of Moy, then north to Buckie Loch, the following butterflies were counted: 67 Scotch Argus, 55 Speckled Wood, 27 Painted Lady, 18 Peacock, 3 Small Tortoiseshell, 2 Red Admiral, 3 Green-veined White, 2 Common Blue (female) and 1 Small Blue.
The first Common Blue was a fresh, brightly coloured female at NJ 017 624, the second a more faded example at NJ 026 637. The Small Blue was seen at NJ 018 627.
||Roy Leverton sent this photo of a Death's-head Hawk-moth taken today at Dufftown, Moray.
Prompted by the sightings of Small Blue in SE Sutherland (see item below and photo opposite), George Mair visited the site of a large colony at Portknockie and found 2 fresh looking adults. Weather permitting, it might be worth looking out for this inconspicuous little butterfly at its known sites, and also second generation Common Blue and Small Heath over the next few weeks.
Generally in the branch area, there has been a surge in butterfly numbers visiting gardens during August. By the middle of the month in the Inverness area, Peacock had become the most numerous visitor to buddleia, followed by Painted Lady, then by Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell. Other garden visitors included Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Small Copper and Speckled Wood, with a slight increase in the latter's numbers towards the end of the month. A similar picture was reported from Golspie, SE Sutherland, by Tony Mainwood. To the east, just over the Moray/Aberdeenshire boundary, Roy Leverton recorded 54 Peacock in his garden on the 25th, and on 24th found 3 Small Tortoiseshell already hibernating in a barn. On 26th, David Barbour reported that Small Tortoiseshells were greatly outnumbered by Peacock in the area around Aberlour, on Speyside. On the west coast, Brian Neath finds that the increase in Peacock numbers continues unabated. He counted 23 on a walk through Balmacara Forest on 22nd, and a record count of 13 on his Carr Brae transect on 24th. Prior to 2006, Brian had only 2 records of single Peacocks in the area.
On 5th August, David Barbour found Speckled Wood at Kildonan Lodge, north-west of Helmsdale in Sutherland. He also found a Dotted Carpet moth in the same place. On 7th, David found the same 2 species at Dunbeath in Caithness. During his 3 days in Caithness and Sutherland, David found Dark Green Fritillary all over the place, along with the commoner species.
In contrast to the decline in Scotch Argus numbers in east Moray and Aberdeenshire (see item dated 06/08/2009), Brian Neath says there is no shortage of Scotch Argus in the Dornie area. He recorded 60 at Carr Brae on 10th, then 84 on 13th, down to 11 by 24th.
This year there appears to be an increase in Small White numbers in the eastern Highlands and Moray.
Small Blues were seen in SE Sutherland in mid-August. The flight period is from late May to early July, so this sighting indicates a second generation, which is very unusual in our area.
A Hummingbird Hawkmoth was recorded in Inverness on 30th August.
Mike Taylor and the Explore Abernethy Ranger are running a moth event “The Magic of Moths” at Nethy Bridge this weekend.
Saturday 29th August 8pm till late (to put out traps in the old tree nursery in Dell Woods, which is part of the Abernethy Forest, and see what comes in) and again on Sunday 30th August 9am to 10.30am (to check the full catch).
Meet at Nethy Bridge Community Centre. Bring suitable outdoor clothing. Booking is recommended but not essential. For more information contact the ranger on 01479 821565 or e-mail email@example.com
More evidence this year of decline in numbers of Scotch Argus in east Moray into Aberdeenshire (VC94 Banffshire). For the second year it has not been recorded in woodland around the Bin of Cullen and Crannoch Loch where it was formerly abundant. However it has not disappeared completely from the area, as 5 specimens were recorded today in the railway cuttings between Cullen and Portknockie.
Roy Leverton has found that Scotch Argus has gradually declined on his transect at Whitewells (Aberdeenshire) since the huge numbers in the early 1990s. Last year (2008) there was a severe crash, with only a handful seen. This year there are very few too. Ringlet and Speckled Wood both colonised the site in 1995, and the latter is now the commonest satyrid.
12 fresh Painted Lady and a fresh-looking male Common Blue were also seen in the railway cuttings at Portknockie.
||2 Small Heath, 20 or more Small Tortoiseshell, 5 Red Admiral, 2 worn Painted Lady and 14 Dark Green Fritillary were counted at the base of cliffs on the west outskirts of Portknockie.
||More Ringlet sightings, this time at Suddie Quary, near Munclochy, Black Isle.
Brian Neath saw his first summer Peacock butterfly in his garden near Dornie today, along with a Scotch Argus.
On his Carr Brae transect he recorded 27 Scotch Argus, 15 Speckled Wood, 7 Small Heath, 5 Dark Green Fritillary and 2 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, the fritillaries already looking rather faded.
||Huge numbers of tiny, migrant Diamond-back Moths Plutella xylostella reported from Foinaven in NW Sutherland. See HBRG website.
||Painted Lady caterpillars have been found this week on Hirta (St Kilda). See HBRG website.
Highland Biological Recording Group (HBRG) website reports large numbers of Painted Lady caterpillars of all sizes on Spear Thistle Cirsium vulgare.
Jimmy McKellar found a Coronet moth Craniophora ligustri on the wall of his house in Inverness. Mr A McNee recorded a Clouded Yellow butterfly, also in Inverness
||Brian Neath writes, "No Scotch Argus on the transect today so the one yesterday was clearly well ahead of the general emergence. However I had 56 butterflies in total - 12 Small Pearl-bordered and 8 Dark Green Fritillaries, 15 Speckled Wood, 6 Meadow Brown and 15 Small Heath.
||Brian Neath reports an exceptionally early Scotch Argus at Dornie, a good 8 days earlier than his previous best date.
At Craig Phadrig Forest, Inverness, Jimmy McKellar found Ringlets in large numbers, along with Meadow Brown and a smaller number of Common Blue. Further downhill were Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood and Painted Lady.
The Ringlets were seen between Craig Phadrig and Craig Dunain, Grid Ref NH630441.
Jimmy McKellar found a Coronet moth resting on the wall of his house in Inverness (photo opposite). This is a local species and possibly near the northern limit of its UK range.
On the path from Loch an Eilean to Loch Einich, Cairngorms National Park, there were Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries along most of the route. There were also Common Blues (again all males) in places where bird-foot trefoil was abundant.
||Jimmy McKellar reports further Ringlet sightings closer to Inverness than the previous 2: Caledonian Canal NH64 644428 (1), NH64 649431 (1).
||Jimmy McKellar reports seeing 2 Ringlets at places that are well away from other sites that he is aware of: Caledonian Canal, NH64 636419 and NH64 628409.
||Along the Moray coast at Portknockie and Findochty, large numbers of Ringlets are reported, outnumbering Meadow Browns which have also appeared. Small Blues are still on the wing at NJ 491 687, some looking quite 'fresh'. Common Blues (mostly males) can befound along the coast where there is birds-foot trefoil. Red Admirals have put in an appearance, and Painted Ladies, mostly faded examples, are still present. Dark-green Fritillaries may also be found flying rapidly on the sea-facing braes.