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.
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
||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.
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.|
||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.
Pete Gordon trapped a Buff Footman in his Nethybridge garden
overnight, a first for VC95!|
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.
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.
||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!
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?|
||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!
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. |
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.
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
Northern Brown Argus
||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 by Sue Pomeroy
Grass Rivulet & Scorched Wing
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.|
||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
Dean MacAskill saw 14 Small Blues and a Painted Lady between Dornoch
airstrip and the beach.|
||Tony Mainwood saw Northern
Brown Argus (below left) and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary (below
right) at Rogart.
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!|
||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
Tony Mainwood saw a couple of Small pearl-bordered Fritillaries on
the Rogart transect.|
||Hilary Swift was delighted
to see an Orange-tip butterfly laying at least 3 eggs on Dame's
Violet in Grantown-on-Spey.
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, above left and Painted Lady, above right
Silver Y, below left and Pyrausta ostrinalis, below right
||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
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.|
||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.
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.|
||Mike Taylor saw a
Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth in his Boat of Garten garden today.
Hilary Swift and Pete Moore found 6 Green Hairstreak butterflies in
Anagach Woods, Grantown-on-Spey during their daily exercise.
||Hilary Swift found a
Peacock butterfly nectaring on Drumstick Primulas in her
Grantown-on-Spey garden, and also a pair of Small Tortoiseshells.
Tony Mainwood was delighted to find an Oak beauty moth in his moth
trap in Golspie, a first for VC107.
||Hilary Swift and Pete Moore
found a Small Tortoiseshell in their garden nectaring on Aubretia
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.
||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.
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.
||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!