Rosemarkie, 20th of July 2014
Once again the forecast wasn’t promising, heavy rain and possible thunderstorms. However there were six of us who met at the seafront, hoping that it wouldn’t be too bad. It was slightly dull and overcast as we set out, but the clouds soon started to lift and it turned into a gloriously warm and sunny day.
We walked along the beach to start with seeing a Green-veined White, but soon turned onto a path which parallels the beach with farmland on the other side. As we walked along we saw a few Ringlets and Meadow Browns, a single Scotch Argus, Common Blue and Small Tortoiseshell as well as the micro moth Agriphila straminella and macro moths Shaded Broad-bar, Small Fan-footed Wave and Silver-ground Carpet amongst others.
The farmland soon gave way to rougher ground with hills beyond and we heard the sound of a Peregrine calling, probably a juvenile, and shortly afterwards saw three Peregrines flying overhead. We also saw some Robin’s Pincushion Galls on a species of wild Rose.
We reached the end of the path and took to the beach again with steeper slopes and cliffs to our left. We spotted a couple of fairly large Buddleia bushes and decided to push through the bracken covered slopes for a closer look.
It turned out to be a wise choice as we saw 8 species of butterfly around the lowest bush including Grayling, Speckled Wood, Large White and Red Admiral. After spending a while there, we moved on round the cliffs looking for suitable habitat for our target species, Northern Brown Argus.
At this point the going became a bit tougher, scrambling over rocks, and a couple of us lagged behind a bit. However we spotted a very small patch of Common Rockrose on the cliff, the larval foodplant of the Northern Brown Argus and a single adult.
We caught up with the others and after having lunch, when we saw a couple of Dolphins a fair distance off-shore, we re-traced our steps and had a good look at the cliff. We soon spotted more Common Rockrose and watched at least four Northern Brown Argus butterflies including a mating pair.
We returned the same way and added Small Heath to our butterfly list making a total of twelve species, certainly the most I’ve seen on any butterfly walks.
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