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Latest news Archive

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Items from previous years have been archived, but can still be accessed by clicking the links below: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



Steve Duffield found a Long-tailed Blue butterfly on his wall!  Rather than being an extremely unusual migrant, he feels it probably arrived with items from a trip to Spain.  Great find though!

Long-tailed Blue


Whilst out on a walk with the Badenoch & Strathspey Ramblers today, one of the group drew my attention to a moth resting on one of the sculptures in the Frank Bruce Sculpture Park near Feshiebridge.  It was a Yellow-line Quaker and this is the latest date that Mike Taylor the VC Recorder has for this species, the previous latest date being the 6th of December.

Yellow-line Quaker


Hilary Swift and Pete Moore had two Red Admirals nectaring again on the Perennial Wallflower in their Grantown-on-Spey garden.  Great to hear of butterfly sightings so late in the year.


Bob Turner and I saw a Red Admiral today by the Telford bridge at Craigellachie in Moray on what was a gorgeous sunny day.


Hilary Swift and Pete Moore had three different sightings of Red Admirals near Marypark in Moray today.  They also saw the day-flying moth The Vapourer.


Bob Turner and I saw a Red Admiral today by the RSPB Kirkmichael viewing screen at Udale Bay.


Two Red Admirals were recorded by Hilary Swift nectaring on Perennial Wallflower in her Grantown-on-Spey garden.  This wallflower has been flowering for at least 4 months, during which time it has been host to numerous nectaring insects, including a Hummingbird Hawk-moth on July 11th, (see entry below for photo).  Strongly recommended!

Photo by Hilary Swift

Red Admirals


Bob Turner saw 3 Small Copper butterflies on the outskirts of Aviemore.

Small Copper


The Birkby family saw 2 Hummingbird Hawk-Moths in their garden in Kingussie today.


Ewan Munro trapped the micro moth Bryotropha domestica, apparently the first one ever recorded in the Highlands.  Thanks to Ewan for the photo below.

Bryotropha domestica


Alistair Noakes saw a Grayling and a male and female Common Blue on Eriskay today as well as a Dark Green Fritillary on Askernish Golf Course, South Uist.


Alison Stables was very pleased to record a Scotch Annulet moth in her trap at Lower Milvaig, VC104, on the Isle of Skye on the 22nd of August.  On the same night she also caught 48 Dark Arches and the first Autumnal Rustics of the year.  Thanks to Alison for the photo of the Scotch Annulet below.

Scotch Annulet


Fiona Mair saw a Painted Lady butterfly in her mum's garden in Lerwick in the Shetland Isles on the 28th and 29th.


Graham Crittenden, moth recorder for VC108, reports that the night of the 23rd of August was an exceptional one for moths and included 3 migrant Great Brocades trapped at Melvich up on the north coast.  Thanks to Graham for the photo below.

Great Brocade


Bob Turner also saw a single Painted Lady today, on the outskirts of Aviemore.  He also saw a few Scorch Argus, Small Heath and a couple of very tatty Ringlets.


Britt and Mike Taylor went to Lossiemouth today to look for any migrant moths that may be about following the strong southerly winds.   They found no migrant moths, but did find 9 Painted Lady butterflies amongst the 10 species of butterfly they saw.  Mike wonders if this is the start of the promised invasion.  Thanks to Mike for the photgraph below.

Painted Lady


After suffering from disappointing moth catches in June and July, Brian Neath was a bit shocked when he trapped 225 moths of 52 species on the 3rd.  The highlight was a Swallow-tailed Moth which was a first for the West Ross/Skye recording areas.

25 Common Carpets and 16 Dark Arches were the most numerous moths, whilst Satin Lutestring continues to establish itself in the Lochalsh area with a total of 6.  The Nationally Scarce Na Barred Carpet is regular in this area and the first 5 of the year were present in this catch.  After a slow start to their season four species of Yellow Underwings were represented including the least common in the area, Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing.

The late season resulted in first August records of Broom Moth and Bright-line Brown-eye.


Martin Hind found the larva of the Chamomile Shark Moth on Mayweed at Shandwick going towards the Well of Health for those who know the area.  Despite extensive searching of other Mayweed in the area no others were found.  Photo below by Martin.

Chamomile Shark

23/07/2015 Bob Turner saw his first Scotch Argus of the year today at a site on the outskirts of Grantown-on-Spey.

Pete Moore spent several days mothing on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula at the start of July.  He reports that there appeared to be an influx of migrants.  As well as the more usual Silver Y, Diamond-back and Rush-veneer, he trapped a Small Mottled Willow, a species he hadn't seen before.  At the same time John Knowler (VC moth recorder for Stirlingshire and West Perthshire) was trapping nearby and caught a Scarce Bordered Straw.

Pete says he was also delighted to trap two uncommon species that use Sea Campion as a foodplant - Marbled Coronet and Grey and Pete believes the latter is the first post-2000 mainland record.

Pete's photo of the Gray is below left and the SMall Mottled Willow is on the right.

Grey  Small Mottled Willow


Brian Neath reports that he has had a record of a Red-necked Footman moth from David Geddes at Leacanashie, North Strome on the 30th of June, the 1st record from VC105.  Incredibly just 2 weeks later on the 14th of July Steve Terry reported the 1st record for Skye in Sleat.


Hilary Swift sent this photo of a Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on her Bowles Mauve Wallflower just outside her back door in Grantown-on-spey.  The same flowers were visited by a Painted Lady butterfly about half an hour later!



Another report of a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in the north, this time one visited the same garden in Brora, Sutherland 3 days running to feed on some Sage bushes.

07/07/2015 Neil Money has reported that there have been three sightings of Hummingbird Hawk-moth in Caithness in the last few days.  Firstly one was seen in Ulbster on the 3rd of July by Jane Erridge, then one was seen on the 6th of July in Watten by Calvin Wilson - please see his photo below.  Also on the 6th of July one was seen in Reay by Eric Maughan.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth

A trip to Ardersier in the sunshine today rewarded us with 10 species of butterfly; Small Tortoiseshell, Small Blue, Dingy Skipper, Red Admiral, Peacock, Common Blue, Ringlet, Meadow Brown, Small Heath & Speckled Wood.  Moths were also represented by Six-spot Burnet, Common Carpet, Silver Y and Clouded Border.

Six-spot Burnet                                      Speckled Wood Clouded Border Common Blue    

Meadow Brown


Katrina and her sister visited Insh Marshes early in the morning today, as well as seeing a Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth, they saw 4 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and photographed one edged with dew.

Small PBF


Katrina and her sister from Sussex who are visiting the area saw 3 Large Heath butterflies as well as a few Small Heaths on a track to the south of Lochindorb today.  One of their photos of a Large Heath is below.

Large Heath


A little bit of nice weather brought out a few butterflies and moths on Speyside today.  As well as Small Blue and Dingy Skipper at the Glenfeshie site, there were also Small Heath, Orange Tip and Green-veined White and a Common White Wave moth.  There were also a couple of Dark Green Fritillaries and an abundance of Bordered White moths at Uath Lochans.  (I also saw a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary near Drumguish on the 27th).

To finish the day we went to Insh Marshes and saw a Common Blue butterfly near the carpark.  The highlight of the day though was 2 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moths nectaring on Bird's-foot Trefoil nearby.


More news from Caithness - A Marsh Pug netted in Dunnet Sand Dunes on the 26th of June was the 1st record of the species in Caithness, photo below.

Marsh Pug

Two Drinker moths trapped in NC96 on the 27th of June are the 1st for that square, giving further evidence that this species is now well established in Caithness.  The 1st adult was recorded in 2010 and the 1st larva in 2011; it has now been recorded in 9 of the 29 10km squares in Caithness.

Thanks to Neil Money for the information and photo.


Neil Money reports that two probable recent colonists were recorded in Caithness on the 19th of June. 

Elephant Hawk-moth - first recorded as a larva in 2006 and since then adults recorded intermittently, but not annually in June and July.

Elephant Hawk-moth

Tawny-barred Angle - first recorded in 2013 and now recorded in 3 sites.

Tawny-barred Angle

For more information on Caithness moths visit the excellent The Moths Of Caithness website.


Brian Neath reports that the poor moth-trapping results continued in Lochalsh with the unussually low temperatures for June.  24 moths of 11 species on the 8th of June contrasting poorly with the 132 moths of 42 species trapped on the same day in June last year.

A better catch on the 19th of June included 37 moths of 18 species with several firsts for the year including Buff Ermine, Pale Prominent, Knot Grass, Broom Moth, Shears and Angle Shades.

Butterflies are almost non-existent apart from a few Green-veined Whites.


We saw a single Northern Brown Argus today at the Grantown-on-spey site of the field trip to see this species on the 18th of July.  More details of the field trip here.


After some really poor trapping results in my Aviemore garden, I finally reached double figures, 11 moths of 6 species.  Scalloped Hazel, Spectacle, Nut-tree Tussock, Beautiful Brocade, Pale-shouldered Brocade and Peppered Moth, which pictured below.

Peppered Moth  


Bob Turner had a great day out in the sunshine seeing Common Heath, Lead Belle and 2 Mother Shipton moths at Insh Marshes NNR, followed by 2 Dingy Skipper and 3 Small Blue butterflies at Glenfeshie.

Lead Belle     Mother Shipton

Small Blue     Dingy Skipper

Brian Neath had just 6 moths of 5 species in his trap, however one was his first Powdered Quaker of the year.


Dot and Ron Ruston are pleased to report that they saw their 1st Dingy Skipper of the season whilst walking the Polmaily transect today.


Despite the late cold spell, Brian Neath was pleasantly surprised to find 4 Green Hairstreak butterflies on the local hillside.


Mike Taylor reports that Gus Jones found a Small Dark Yellow Underwing at a new site near Aviemore yesterday, whilst Mike found two in cop on a fence post at a known site above Carrbridge.  They were low down on the fence post and were seen to shift around it to keep in the sun. Small Dark Yellow Underwing


Overnight Brian Neath had 41 moths of 10 species in his trap despite a run of several days with low temperatures.  Highlights were 2 Scarce Prominents and the 1st Water Carpet of the year.  Common Quaker was still the most numerous species with 18 in stark contrast to an extraordinary 173 of this species trapped on the 10th of April.


Mike and Britt Taylor found two Small Dark Yellow Underwing moths on Friday the 24th, the last nice day before the return of winter!  The moths were seen crawling around, and under, small patches of Bearberry beside the road approximately one kilometre NW of the southern tip of Lochindorb.  This is a new site for the species and a relatively early date for them so not what Mike and Britt were expecting to find, they were in fact looking for Netted Mountain Moth which haven't been seen yet.  Unfortunately Mike had left his camera in the car, not a mistake he'll make again I'm sure.


Barbara Brodie saw 4 species of butterfly today in Culloden, Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral and Peacock.  I also saw an Orange Tip in my Aviemore garden.


Anke Addy saw her earliest Orange Tip in her Aboyne garden.


Last night Brian Neath caught 204 moths of 15 species.  The main interest was a Dark Sword-grass, unfortunately a rather worn specimen - see photo on the left - but the first spring record of this species in West Ross.

Two Grey Birch equalled the earliest date for the Vice County.  There was a record count of 80 Common Quaker and a good count of 22 Small Quaker, a species with few records from north of Lochalsh and only one record for Skye.  5 Twin-spotted Quaker confirmed the establishment of this moth in Lochalsh.Dark Sword-grass


After the warm and sunny weather a number of people reported seeing their first butterflies of 2015 today.  Small Tortoiseshells were seen from Loch Insh near Kincraig to as far north as Golspie.


Brian Neath had another good catch in his trap with 64 moths of 12 species.  The highlight was 3 Twin-spotted Quakers which were only recorded for the 1st time in West Ross in 2013 with two records of single moths.  Two singles were also seen in 2014 so having three on one night is quite a step forward for this species.   All the record so far are from Brian's site at Dornie and he is interested to see whether it turns up elsewhere.

Below is a photo of a Twin-spotted Quaker that Brian took on the 12th of April 2013.

Twin-spotted Quaker


Brian Neath, Vice County Moth Recorder for VC104 (Skye/Raasay) and VC105 (West Ross), reports that despite the poor weather in March, he recorded 15 species of macro-moth.  He only trapped twice, but also saw several species at his lighted windows at Dornie.  These included Yellow Horned, March Moth, Autumn Green Carpet, Brindled Pug, Engrailed, Small Quaker, Red Sword-grass and Early Grey.

He has also just received details of 3 Orange Underwing at Leitir Fura on Skye and another near Lochcarron.  These were seen by David Mason and are only the second records of this species for Skye and West Ross respectively.


 I saw my first Orange Underwing Moth of the year in Birch woodland between Aviemore and the A9 today.

Orange Underwing


Despite the cold Mike Taylor trapped 58 moths of 9 species in his Boat of Garten garden overnight including 16 Rannoch Sprawlers.

Rannoch Sprawler


Thanks to Mark Wynn for his first moth records of the year, 2 Common Quakers, a Couded Drab and a Chestnut


Mark Wynn saw his first butterfly of the year in the warm afternoon sun, a Peacock at Strathvaich NH385732.


A Rannoch Sprawler was trapped in Invermoriston by Doug Gilbert.  Whilst this was only one of two moths in the trap, it was a first record for the species in the NH41 10KM square.Rannoch Sprawler


The first butterfly sighting of the year was a Peacock sighted at 2pm in warm and sunny conditions at grid ref NH649727.  Many thanks to Kim Dawson for the record.


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