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Ardersier Field Trip Sat 28th May 2022

Five of us met under a not very promising Stratocumulus sky. I was leading a group of four retired women.  Two are new members. For three it was their first field trip.


After my welcome and customary notices I put it to them that we could very well find Small Blue eggs and that if the cloud-cover broke that because the colony is sheltered it would become a sun trap and very likely cause adults to be on the wing.  There was also a chance that beside our target species we might find Dingy Skippers.  That would be a pleasant bonus.


I also spoke of the planting programme of Kidney Vetch in the hope the colony expands along the coast and thereby lessening the risk of losing the colony to fire for example.


As we walked to the colony site, we observed decent clumps of our previously planted Kidney Vetch.  In fact we came across two substantial patches, which was most encouraging.  Moreover, it was lovely to have botanists in the group who willingly pointed out delights.  (See list)  Regrettably, we didn't come across any Coralroot Orchids. However, it wasn't for the lack of searching.


At noon we reached the colony site.  The sun began to shine and so we settled down to enjoy lunch.  I searched for the very, very tiny greenish-white eggs of Small Blue that are deposited singly on the Kidney Vetch flowers, tucked in amongst the hairs.  I was lucky.  I pointed it out to everyone. It's a joy to discover it and view through a field lens.  Better still, more were found by the group once they knew what to look for.  Wonderful.


Whilst looking for more eggs we had Dingy Skippers on the wing around us.  A first for three of the ladies.  Then shortly afterwards we had one Small Blue fluttering around.  It was exciting to show these butterflies really close up in a specimen pot.  So, a successful day.


We also found a caterpillar of the Oak Eggar Moth.


On the return, in the warmth of the sunshine, we recorded Peacocks, Green-veined Whites, a probable Small Copper and possible Small Whites plus a male Orange-tip.


Finally we had three warblers – Willow Warbler, White-throat and Chiffchaff.


The plants were:  Early-purple Orchid; Few-flowered Leek; Burnet Rose; Sea Campion; Wood Sage; Hairy Tare.  Plus Common Field Cap Mushroom.


Thank-you ladies, for your natural history contributions, cheerfulness and company.

                                                                                Mark Wynn

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