Details of unusual or unseasonal sightings are especially welcome for inclusion on this page,
although any contributions are welcome. Please send your contributions to
Highland Branch welcomes contributions not just from Highland and Moray, but from the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.
A Comma butterfly was spotted on Buddleia
in a Grantown-on-Spey garden.
A Citrus Swallowtail was photographed and
filmed in a Nethybridge garden! The species natural range is
sub-Saharan Africa and the Arabian peninsula, but this individual is
believed to have come from the Landmark Butterfly House several
miles from Nethybridge.|
My next door neighbour spotted an Elephant Hawk-moth larva in
another neighbour's garden.
Hilary Swift has had a Small white
egg-laying on Aubretia and Nasturtium in her Grantown-on-Spey garden
on most days in the last couple of weeks.|
Jack Harrison found a Comma in his Nairn garden, (photo below) and 2
others near Loch Spynie.
Hilary Swift had a Hummingbird Hawk-moth
nectaring on Buddleia in her Grantown-on-Spey garden.|
Hilary Swift watched a Small White butterfly egg-laying on an
Aubretia plant in her Garntown-on-Spey garden, you can just see the
white egg near the middle of the photo below.
Barry Blake reports that Tom Talbot has
come up with a second new species for VC105 in two months. This Rosy
Minor appeared in his Ullapool garden and is the first confirmed
record. It is something of a mystery why records of this species
from the west coast are so scarce. |
After hearing about Audrey and Bob's visit to the Carse of Ardersier
in 2020, Pete Moore and Hilary Swift visited on August 8th. Sure
enough, the brownfield site was full of Graylings nectaring on the
buddleia, along with Peacock, Painted Lady, Small Tortoiseshell, Red
Admiral, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Copper, Common Blue, Small
White and Meadow Brown. Other butterflies seen on their visit were
Green-Veined White, Ringlet, Speckled Wood and Small Heath making an
incredible 14 species seen!
Buddleia at the old fabrication yard
Grayling nectaring on Buddleia
Tom Talbot caught this splendid Phoenix in his Ullapool garden.
Barry Blake reports this is a first for VC 105 and is the most
northerly record for the west coast, taking over from Lochaber.
Thanks as ever to Roy Leverton for confirming the identification.
It continues to be an interesting year. |
In the first record for VC 105 since 2015 Sue Pomeroy found this Bordered Grey in her
Durnamuck garden. Barry Blake reports that this moth has a very
localised distribution with most Scottish records from the Hebrides and
Ardnamurchan areas. This is by some way the most northerly record
in Scotland so far, the only other
VC records all being from the same area (Drumbuie) near Lochalsh.
Sue Pomeroy found this splendid Lime-speck Pug
in her Durnamuck garden last night. Barry Blake reports this is only
the third record for VC 105 (both Lochalsh) and by far the most
northerly record for the west coast.
As previously reported, up to 2016 there were
no Scallop Shell records for VC 105, After this one record there was
a gap until 2020 when four were caught in the Gairloch area, three
(distinctly different individuals) were caught in Barry Blake’s
garden. Today a specimen appeared in his wife’s garden shed where
she said it has been for two days despite the door being open all
day. It is tempting to speculate on where this range-expanding
species is breeding!
Mike and Britt Taylor
visited Loch Bran and successfully used a pheromone lure to record a
Welsh Clearwing moth, the first record at the site since 2013 and
the only site east of the Great Glen. Later in the afternoon a
visiting recorder lured in another 7 of the moths, so it would
appear there is a viable breeding population.|
Poplar Grey has a very restricted range in
Scotland and in VC 105 has only been recorded from sites in the very
south and mid-east of the county. It was thus a surprise when this
beautiful fresh specimen appeared in Sue Pomeroy’s trap at
Dundonnell well to the north and west.
Last year Barry Blake reported finding a caterpillar which was
tentatively identified as a Birch Mocha, see top entry
here. As the photos below
show, it was indeed a Birch Mocha, a rather beautiful moth.|
About to emerge
Adult Birch Mocha
Sue Pomeroy found two Sweet Gale Moths in her
trap at Durnamuck last night (8 June). Barry Blake reports that
there are only three previous records for VC 105 and two of those
Margaret Currie and Andy Scott saw a few butterflies in Glen Affric.|
5 Small Heath at NH189262
2 Green Hairstreak at NH212241
Small Copper at NH212241
||In yet another "strange
year" Barry Blake has noted an unusual number of Sandy Carpet
records in VC105. There have been 6 reports already in June
2021 as against 8 records in the previous 10 years. The atlas
reckons this is a mainly eastern, coastal species in Scotland, but
it is generally moving inland. Photograph by Jim Henderson.|
Hearing that Dingy Skipper were on the wing locally, Hilary Swift
and Pete Moore went to check out the Auchgourish
plantation, near Boat of Garten, where there were a couple of
records from 2020. They were delighted to find no less than 44
individuals along the sandy tracks and turning circles, with a count
of 12 in one place.|
||Bob Turner and I found a Small Purple-barred Moth at Whitewell near
Mike and Britt Taylor saw Speckled Yellow (below left) and Small
Purple-barred (below right) at Strath Mashie.|
||Mike and Britt Taylorfound
a couple of Dingy Skippers at the Gravel Pit Pond in Culbin Forest.
Inspired by our sightings of
Pearl-bordered Fritillary yesterday, and not to be out-done by us,
Pete and Hilary visited a site near Dulsie Bridge today to look for
PBF. The conditions were marginal, but they saw 11
individuals. The last records from this area were from David
Barbour in 2015.
||Bob Turner and I saw our
first Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (below left) of the year at a site
just south of Aviemore. There were also Green Hairstreak
(below right), Speckled Wood, Small Heath and Orange-tip.
Moths were represented by Brown Silver-line and Common Heath and
there was also a very fast moving Garden Tiger larva.
Pete Gordon trapped an Oak Nycteoline in his Nethybridge garden,
only the 5th VC record for the species and the first since 2015.|
||Two male Orang-tips were
seen on the wing near Blacksboat.
The first Peacock butterfly of the year I've spotted in Aviemore.|
||Carol Armour & Neil
Sutherland spotted a Comma by the Spey near Blacksboat.
Hilary Swift found a total of 9 female and 2 male Rannoch Brindled
Beauties on large, erratic boulders on moorland near the west end of
Loch Laggan. Now we know where they go when there are no
||Mike Taylor trapped this
smart Twin-spotted Quaker in his Boat of Garten garden. This
is a first for VC95 and a good start to the year.
Two female and one male Rannoch Brindled Beauty moths were seen by
Pete Moore and Hilary Swift near Nethybridge. Thanks to
Stewart Taylor for the tip-off!|
||In his 2nd trap of the year
in VC105, Barry Blake was pleasantly surprised to find a single moth
that turned out to be an Oak Beauty, only the 2nd record north of
Lochaber, but a first for VC105. As ever, thanks to Roy
Leverton for identification advice.
A Small Tortoiseshell was seen at Hopeman Harbour.|
||A Small Tortoiseshell
turned up in my house in Aviemore today. It is now continuing
hibernation in the garage.