Ardersier Field Trip - Sunday 18th of June 2017
12 of us met at the car park at Ardersier Common on a dull, but dry day. We walked along a narrow path through fairly high vegetation and the first species of butterfly we saw was a Ringlet. We wandered along through the high vegetation before coming into a more open, and damp, area where we saw hundreds of Coralroot Orchids. Six-spot Burnet and Clouded Border moths were seen here as well.
The group in a huddle - Dot Ruston and Ringlet
We walked out onto the path along the beach and came to an overgrown area with plenty of nettles and brambles and saw some 7-spot Ladybirds and larvae. At that point a large moth flew over and Mark gave chase. We were all discussing the ladybirds and their larvae anad had almost forgotten about Mark when he returned about 5 minutes later, jubilant at catching what turned out to be a male Northern Eggar moth!
We carried on along the path heading to the area where the Small Blues are and the group became spread out, stopping to look at different things on the way. There was a really good show of Wood Vetch growing on the shingle above the beach.
Once we got to the area of the colony, it didn't take too long to start seeing butterflies, firstly a Speckled Wood, but then a total of 5 Small Blues flying quickly just above the grass, rarely settling for long. There were also a couple of Small Heath butterflies and a Silver-ground Carpet moth.
Northern Eggar and Small Blue
As we were admiring the Small Blues, the rest of the group caught up and Jimmy announced he'd seen a Dingy Skipper, which was our other target species, and a Common Blue. The sun had started to come out now and then, and as we walked back towards the start, the sunny spells were getting longer.
We turned off the beach path and were soon walking on a narrow path through high vegetation, checking the tops of Hogweed as we went. Then we entered a more open area and quickly spotted several Ringlets and briefly, a Red Admiral before it flew off. On the straight path back towards the car park, Green-veined White and Large White were seen bring our butterfly species total for the day to a respectable nine.
Back at the car park - Dot Ruston
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