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Field trip Loch Fleet, near Golspie, Sunday 14th July

By Audrey Turner

After a week of gloriously sunny weather it was a little disappointing that it started out cloudy and a bit overcast. It stayed that way for most of the day, with just occasional brief bursts of sun, but at least it didn’t rain.

There were 20 of us in total, including 4 children, and Lesley Cranna from SNH who gave us some information and leaflets about Loch Fleet NNR. We set out at just after 10.30am, but we’d already seen a Grayling, one of our target species, thanks to Andy’s net. We soon found what was to be the first of a staggering number of Common Blue Butterflies and the children had great fun netting them.

We walked along a track between the woods and the dunes and found Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Dark Green Fritillary and even more Common Blues as well as our other target species, Six-spot Burnet.

As we continued, we also caught some macro moths, Silver-ground Carpet and Yellow Shell amongst them and Ewan netted some micros, including Brown Plume, Stenoptilia pterodactyla, which turned out to be a new record for the vice county. We spent a couple of hours wandering in the dunes seeing quite a lot of butterflies, especially Common Blues, but no extra species, although I did manage to net a Dark Green Fritillary. I’m sure the cooler weather played a part in that, they’re normally a strong flying species that I can’t get close to on sunny days!

A few people turned back, but there were 12 of us who had lunch on the beach watching Sandwich Terns catching fish, before heading to the woodland edge to return back to the starting point. On the way we saw more of the same 5 species of butterfly as well as more Six-spot Burnets, including some emerging from pupae. There were also other macro moths, Shaded Broad-bar and Common Carpet amongst them.

We arrived back at the car park at about 2.40 pm, having seen 6 Grayling in total, but the real stars of the day were the Common Blues, there were well over 150.


Common Blue
Small Heath
Dark Green Fritillary
Meadow Brown


169 Zygaena filipendulae - Six-spot Burnet
1255 Cydia ulicetana
1293 Chrysoteuchia culmella
1302 Crambus perlella
1304 Agriphila straminella
Udea lutealis
1509 Stenoptilia pterodactyla - Brown Plume
1727 Xanthorhoe montanata - Silver-ground Carpet
1732 Scotopteryx chenopodiata - Shaded Broad Bar
1738 Epirrhoe alternata - Common Carpet
1742 Camptogramma bilineata - Yellow Shell
1758 Eulithis pyraliata - Barred Straw
1776 Colostygia pectinataria - Green Carpet
1954 Bupalus piniaria - Bordered White
2107 Noctua pronuba - Large Yellow Underwing

Highland Branch field trip to Loch Fleet

Six-spot Burnet

Six-spot Burnet



Common Blue

Common Blue


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