Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
   Highland Branch
 » Homepage
 » Latest news
 » Events
 » Your records
 » Surveys
 » Species
 » Newsletter
 » Committee
 » Links
branch logo
Links to the national Butterfly Conservation website
 » National website
 » BC Scotland
 » BC Membership
 » Orkney
 » Shetland
 » Western Isles

Latest news

Details of unusual or unseasonal sightings are especially welcome for inclusion on this page, although any contributions are welcome. Please send your contributions to BChighlandcontact@yahoo.com

Highland Branch welcomes contributions not just from Highland and Moray, but from the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland.

Items from previous years have been archived, but can still be accessed by clicking the links below:
| Jan - Jun 2008 | Jul - Aug 2008 | Sep - Nov 2008 | Jan - June 2009 | July - Nov 2009 | Feb - June 2010 | Jul - Dec 2010 | Jan - June 2011 | July - Dec 2011 | Jan - June 2012 | July - Sep 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019  | 2021 | 2022



22/09/2020 Barry Blake found this caterpillar in mixed woodland near Gairloch. It was (not entirely convincingly) identified as a Birch Mocha larva, something not seen that often. To be sure, Roy Leverton suggested he rear to pupa stage and kindly provided a photograph for comparison.  The moth obligingly pupated on 4 October and confirmed it self as a Birch Mocha.

Birch Mocha Larva Birch Mocha Pupa
Birch Mocha Larva                                                                                    Birch Mocha Pupa

21/09/2020  Chloe Hall found this splendid Convolvulus Hawk-moth in her garden in the Laide area of VC105 this morning.  Barry Blake notes that with only two records in the last decade, this late summer migrant is a rare treat in the west.

Convolvulus Hawk-moth
30/08/2020 Barry Blake reports another scarce record for VC 105 this month. John and Viveca Port from the Gairloch area caught this splendid Lunar Underwing in their garden. It is one of only a dozen records for the VC and is the most northerly record for the west coast by some way, on a par with the most northerly Scottish records from VC106 in the east.

Lunar Underwing
26/08/2020  2020 is turning out to be quite a year for moths in VC105 mainly due to some new and keen recorders.  Lesley Spenceley caught 3 Centre-barred Sallows in her garden near Ullapool.  Barry Blake reports that with the exception of a couple of very early records from the RIS at Beinn Eighe, all previous records have been from the Lochalsh area in the very south of the VC.

Centre-barred Sallow
21/08/2020 Pete Gordon trapped a Buff Footman in his Nethybridge garden overnight, a first for VC95!

Buff Footman
16/08/2020  Barry Blake reports that Sue Pomeroy found this Minor Shoulder-knot in her trap near Little Loch Broom. This is a species rarely recorded in VC105 in recent years, and Roy Leverton commented that he used to see many in his garden in the 1990s but has not seen one for years.
Minor Shoulder-knot


Things have bucked up in VC 105 with Barry Blake catching around 630 moths, mainly from 1 MV trap on 11 August (300+ Ear Moth agg.), and Sue Pomeroy catching only the third Bedstraw Hawkmoth (below left) for the county on 12 August. On the same night Sue also caught a highly aberrant carpet moth identified by Roy Leverton as a male Purple Bar (below right). Roy suggested this be checked with the British Museum of Natural History as it could be unique.

Bedstraw Hawk-moth Purple Bar
16/07/2020  Tony Mainwood had a reasonable haul of over 30 species of moth with Swallow-tailed Moth and Latticed Heath the stars.  Tony thinks the Swallow-tailed Moth is only the 2nd for VC107 and Latticed Heath is the 1st!
15/07/2020 Members of the North Sutherland Wildlife group found some Ringlets in Borgie Woods, just 5 or 6KM from the north coast.  Are these the most North-westerly Ringlets?

09/07/2020  Tony Mainwood spotted his first Grayling butterfly of the year on the Loch Fleet transect, he also spotted an amazing 345 Six-spot Burnet moths!

03/07/2020 This Scallop Shell (3 July 2020) is only the second record for VC 105 and, along with the 2016 specimen caught by Barry Blake in Gairloch in 2016, is the furthest north in Scotland to date. The closest mainland record is from the Ardnamurchan. Roy Leverton commented that this species is expanding rapidly in Scotland.

Scallop Shell


Dave Barclay spotted this emergent Poplar Hawkmoth on his garage wall in Laide, VC105, and watched between 1730 and 2030  as it stretched towards its full size and splendour. On checking at 0930  the next morning he was delighted to see that it had already found a mate.   

Poplar Hawk-moth

Poplar Hawk-moth

Poplar Hawk-moth
26/06/2020 Dean MacAskill had a walk over Coul Links in breezy conditions, then walked back along the path at the dune ridge.  He saw 3 Red Admirals, 5 Common Blue, 12 Small Heath, 31 Northern Brown Argus, 19 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 4 Ringlet, 7 Dark Green Fritillary, 1 Green-veined White, 5 Meadow Brown, 41 Small Blue, many Six-spot Burnets, and a few Yellow Shell and Silver Y.

Ringlet  Yellow Shell
Ringlet & Yellow Shell

Northern Brown Argus
Northern Brown Argus
22/06/2020  Barry Blake reports that the Covid-19 lock-down has produced some benefits for moth recording in VC 105. Restricted to gardens and with time on hands, people interested in natural history have turned towards moth survey, generating some valuable data from sites not normally sampled. A good example is the intensive effort by Sue Pomeroy at Durnamuck and Dundonnell yielding species only infrequently recorded in  north central Wester Ross. These include Saxon, Green Silver-lines, Scorched Wing and Grass Rivulet. Every cloud.....

Green Silver-lines  Saxon
Green Silver-lines & Saxon by Sue Pomeroy

Grass Rivulet  Scorched Wing
Grass Rivulet & Scorched Wing
20/06/2020 Hilary Swift had a Hummingbird Hawk-moth in her Grantown-on-Spey garden and 3 Red Admirals nectaring on Philadelphus.  Halary also saw quite a few Red Admirals egg-laying during the week.

Red Admirals
18/06/2020  2 Common Blues and 15 Six-spot Burnets (below left) at Littleferry were Tony Mainwood's 1st sightings of the year for each species, despite a lack of sunshine.  There was also a Mother Shipton Moth (below right).  He also saw 2 Common Blues in Golspie and a rather battered Peacock at Rogart. 

Six-spot Burnet  Mother Shipton
18/06/2020 Dean MacAskill saw 14 Small Blues and a Painted Lady between Dornoch airstrip and the beach.
16/06/2020  Tony Mainwood saw Northern Brown Argus (below left) and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (below right) at Rogart.

Northern Brown Argus  Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
13/06/2020 Hilary Swift and Pete Moore visited a site near Nethybridge to look for Small Blue.  As well as several Small Blue (below left), including one laying eggs, they also saw 5 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moths, including a mating pair (below right).  They also saw a Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Northern Brown Argus, Common Blue, Small Copper, Small Heath, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Tortoiseshell, Small White, Green-veined White and an Orange-tip!

Small Blue  Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
12/06/2020  Dean MacAskill saw several Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (below left), a Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth (below right), a Small Blue and a Silver Y at Coul Links.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary  Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
09/06/2020 Tony Mainwood saw a couple of Small pearl-bordered Fritillaries on the Rogart transect.

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary
08/06/2020  Hilary Swift was delighted to see an Orange-tip butterfly laying at least 3 eggs on Dame's Violet in Grantown-on-Spey.

Orange-tip Egg  Orange-tip Egg
01/06/2020 Tony Mainwood spent some time with his camera on Golspie Links and saw at least 5 Painted Ladies, 7 Small Heath, 15 Small Blues, a few Silver Y and others.

Small Blue       Painted Lady

Small Blue, above left and Painted Lady, above right   Silver Y, below left and Pyrausta ostrinalis, below right

Silver YPyraustra ostrinalis
30/05/2020  With some easing of the lockdown, Tony Mainwood was able to get to his Rogart transect where he saw 14 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and his 1st 3 Small Heath of the year.

Pearl-bordered FritillarySmall Heath
25/05/2020 Hilary Swift and Pete Moore had a walk on the outskirts of Grantown-on-Spey and saw 7 species of butterfly; Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Green Hairstreak, Green-veined White and Orange-tip.  They also saw Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth, Ancylis tineana (Rannoch Roller) and a Silver Y, making it the best lepidoptera day of the year so far.
Small Copper Hilary SwiftSmall Copper Hilary Swift
25/05/2020  Tony Mainwood saw Small Blue at Golspie Links and found 2 Pearl-bordered Fritillaries at a new site at Ben Bhraggie Wood, Golspie under the power lines.
Pearl-bordered Fritillary
25/05/2020 Barry Blake reports that in a period of limited moth data for VC105 as a result of both lock-down and gales, it was great to hear from Dr Jennifer Port on Isle Ewe that she had a virtual plague of Garden Tiger caterpillars (well in excess of 100 anyway).  Good news for a species that is not doing too well further south.
Garden Tiger larva
09/05/2020  Mike Taylor saw a Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth in his Boat of Garten garden today.
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
25/04/2020 Hilary Swift and Pete Moore found 6 Green Hairstreak butterflies in Anagach Woods, Grantown-on-Spey during their daily exercise.
Green Hairstreak
18/04/2020  Hilary Swift found a Peacock butterfly nectaring on Drumstick Primulas in her Grantown-on-Spey garden, and also a pair of Small Tortoiseshells.
Peacock Small Tortoiseshell
06/04/2020 Tony Mainwood was delighted to find an Oak beauty moth in his moth trap in Golspie, a first for VC107.
Oak Beauty
05/04/2020  Hilary Swift and Pete Moore found a Small Tortoiseshell in their garden nectaring on Aubretia today.
Small Tortoiseshell
28/3/2020 After 4 weeks of trying this year, I finally caught some moths in the trap in my Aviemore garden.  2 Hebrew Characters, a Mottled Grey and the Yellow Horned pictured below.
Yellow Horned
24/03/2020  Mike Taylor saw an Orange Underwing very close to his house in Boat of Garten, not quite close enough to be added to his garden list though.  However, the trap set out the night before did bring in a reasonable catch including 7 Rannoch Sprawlers.
23/3/2020 Just before the lock down Pete Moore visited six derelict cottages and outbuildings on Dava Moor.  In five of them he found a total of 118 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies, 6 Peacock butterflies and 3 Herald moths hibernating.  Strangely there was nothing at all in the 6th property. 
Herald Moth
08/03/2020  Hilary Swift and Pete Moore visited Ardclach Bell Tower and found a total of 29 Peacock butterflies and 7 Small Tortoiseshells hibernating, including some in the chimney!

Hibernating butterflies Examining the chimney


Copyright Butterfly Conservation © 2006-2019 Highland Branch
Privacy and Copyright Statement
Butterfly Conservation
Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (2206468)
Registered Office: Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Wareham, Dorset, BH20 5QP
Charity registered in England & Wales (254937) and in Scotland (SCO39268)