Grantown-on-Spey Field Trip - Saturday 18th of July 2015
Despite an awful forecast 7 of us arrived at the meeting place by the Old Spey Bridge on the outskirts of Grantown-on-Spey. The weather wasn''t great, dull, overcast and quite windy, but at least it was dry. However it was more in hope than expectation that we set out back along the minor road looking for our target species - Northern Brown Argus(NBA)
Very quickly we found a patch of the butterflies foodplant - Common Rockrose - and found some black larvae on them, but these turned out not to be NBA larvae, but were probably leaf beetle larvae. However, an egg was found that was definitely an NBA egg.
We carried on along the minor road and headed onto a grassy area where I've seen NBA as well as a variety of other butterflies. There was loads of Rockrose and other wildflowers and we soon spotted an NBA resting in the vegetation(See photo below left). Shortly after that we found some more species, Small Heath and Ringlet as well as a tatty Gold Swift moth(below right) and some Chimney Sweeper moths.
Moving on we spotted a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary also in the vegetation, one benefit of the poor weather was that it was easy to pot up the species we found so that people could have a closer look. After a good look at the fritillary, it was released onto an orchid flower which made for a nice photo opportunity(below left).
We moved into another open, grassy area and got a little bit of sunshine and the grass seemed to come alive with moths and butterflies, mostly Ringlets, but Common Blue(below left) was added to our species list as was Yellow Shell for the moths(above right), and Plain Wave(below right). There was also a good number of Northern Brown Argus.
We decided to head south along the Speyside Way for a short while as I'd seen some Six-spot Burnet moths there in previous years, but apart from a couple of Ringlets and a Middle-barred Minor moth, we saw very little as the strong wind seemed to be blowing right up the path.
After a spot of lunch we headed back the way we came and had another look at the area where we spotted the first NBA and saw a couple of Six-spot Burnets as well as a Shaded Broad-bar and a Large Yellow Underwing. As we got back towards our starting point, a Meadow Brown butterfly was added to our list, making 6 species of butterfly on a day that didn't look at all promising.
Thanks to all who attended and thanks to Pete Moore for his moth IDs, especially the micros.
Butterfly species seen; Northern Brown Argus, Small Heath, Ringlet, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Common Blue & Meadow Brown.
Moth species seen; Chimney Sweeper, Gold Swift, Yellow Shell, Common White Wave, Plain Wave, Silver-ground Carpet, Middle-barred Minor, Six-spot Burnet, Large Yellow Underwing, Shaded Broad-bar, Agriphila straminella, Chrysoteuchia culmella, Carpatolechia proximella & Celypha lacunana
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