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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 unicorn64@btinternet.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Items from previous years have been archived, but can still be accessed by clicking the links below: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 | 2020 | 2021



Barry Blake reports some interesting records for VC105 in the last couple of days.  Pete and Clare Wimpenny spotted the first Convolvulus Hawk-moth of the year (the 15th for the VC since 1997) at Big Sand. This was rapidly followed by another feeding on Sue Pomeroy’s artichoke flowers at Durnamuck. At the same time Sue made an amazing discovery of 40+ Silver Y moths emerging  from chrysalises (below, left) under netting protecting her carrot crop. The cherry on top  was then the first VC record of Frosted Orange (below, right) again from Sue at Durnamuck.  What next?

Silver Y Frosted Orange

17/08/2022 After a breezy night on the Inverewe Estate, Maria & Gareth Parkinson recorded the first two Buff Footman moths to be recorded in VC105.  At another site close by, Barry Blake recorded another two on the same night.  The atlas shows this rapidly moving species had reached up to a line approximately from Fort William to Montrose by 2016.  Roy Leverton, who kindly provided the identification, says that the species has now reached well into East Ross-shire.  It has not, however, been found in the NW until now.

Buff Footman
07/08/2022  Catriona Matheson saw a Comma on two occasions in the same 1km square in Culbin Forest, once on the 3rd of August and once on the 7th.  This is a new 10KM square for Comma.

12/07/2022 In his 20th year at his house in Boat of Garten this year, Mike Taylor recorded his 20th species of butterfly in the garden, a Northern Brown Argus! (Below, left).  Mike had his moth trap out the night before and caught over 600 moths of 82 species. The number was probably higher, but 145 Mottled Beauties formation flying inside the trap caused a few escapes.  The most interesting catch was a Capperia britanniodactylus (Wood-sage Plume), only the 2nd recorded in VC95. (Below, right).

Northern Brown Argus Wood Sage Plume
05/07/2022  Steve Wheatley spotted lots of Northern Eggar caterpillars on the slopes of Morven, the ones pictured below were presumably warming up on the rocks.  Steve also saw a Red Admiral at the summit.

Northern Eggar
26/06/2022 An interesting month for VC105.  After a prolonged period of strong winds and poor catches, Barry Blake received two unusual records.  On 24 June a Bordered Straw from Applecross was the first VC record and a rare record for northern Scotland (see photo below left).  The next day a Ringlet butterfly was reported from a meadow near Braemore junction (see photo below right).  This is only the second record for VC105, and the recorder had seen the same species the day before, so perhaps evidence of range expansion.

UPDATE: There have now been a further 4 sightings of Ringlets a bit further north than the original 2, so it seems that there is a colony there.

Bordered Straw  Ringlet
19/06/2022  Hilary Swift and Pete Moore saw their first Northern Brown Argus of the year at a site by Grantown-on-Spey.

Northern Brown Argus
05/06/2022 Hilary Swift and Pete Moore searched for Chequered Skipper in the Glen Spean, Loch Laggan area and found good numbers between Moy and Creag Meagaidh, just across the boundary into the reserve.

Chequered Skipper
03/06/2022  Pete Moore spotted a Comma butterfly and 2 Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moths nectaring on the white Lilac in the garden of Ivy Cottage in Insh village.  Maybe we should all be paying more attention to flowering Lilac, it seems to be popular!
03/06/2022 Dean had similar species in his garden again, but this time managed to get a stunning photo of the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth
02/06/2022  In his garden in Achavandra Muir, near Dornoch, Dean MacAskill saw several each of Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Green-veined White and a single Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth on his flowering Lilac tree, along with plenty of Bumblebees.  There were also a couple of Oramge-tips and a single Speckled Wood in the garden.
17/05/2022 Hilary Swift found 4 Dingy Skipper on the wing at Auchgourish near Boat of Garten.

Dingy Skipper
08/05/2022  Hilary Swift & Pete Moore saw their first Green Hairstreaks of the year at Duthil, they saw 4 individuals. (Photo of one below).  Pete also saw a Comma near Dulnain Bridge and a Small Copper.

Green Hairstreak
28/04/2022 It has already been an interesting start to the moth season in VC105, but Barry Blake was amazed to find this Welsh Wave in his trap at Inverewe Gardens last night.  The earliest VC record is the end of May and the norm is June/July.  As Roy Leverton commented, the poor thing will be unlikely to find a mate and its early rise gene will not get passed on!

Welsh Wave
27/04/2022  Hilary Swift spotted a Comma butterfly laying an egg on some 4 inch high nettles near her Grantown-on-Spey garden!

Comma egg on Nettle
22/04/2022 Peter Stronach found a Small Dark Yellow Underwing moth at a site near Carrbridge, the first I've heard of this year.

Small Dark Yellow Underwing
19/04/2022  It has already been an interesting year for VC105.  The 2nd ever Oak Beauty, the 1st ever Pale Pinions (3), and now Lesley Spenceley at Rhiroy has turned up only the 2nd accepted record for Brindled Beauty for the VC.  The previous was way down south by Lochalsh in 2014.  Things seem to be on the move.

Brindled Beauty
14/04/2022 Mike Taylor trapped a Kentish Glory in hos Boat of Garten garden, it was outside and just underneath the trap and would have been easy to miss.

Kentish Glory
14/04/2022  Barry Blake was not impressed when the Heath Trap on loan to VC105 from Highland Branch only caught one moth last night.  However, on putting the gear away, he found a female Emperor moth clinging to the electrics.  She then proceeded to lay eggs on a wire!  A chance to try and rear some Emperors?

Emperor Moth on Wire Emperor Moth Emperor Moth eggs on Wire
02/04/2022 Hilary Swift and Pete Moore found a female Dotted Border on a fence post whilst unsuccessfully searching for Rannoch Brindled Beauty near Grantown-on-Spey.

Female Dotted Border
27/03/2022  Barry Blake reports that a Pale Pinion appeared in Lesley Spenceley's trap at Rhiroy near Ullapool and it is the forst record for VC105.  A good start to the 2022 season.
Pale Pinion
27/03/2022 Hilary Swift saw 2 Small Tortoiseshells courting in Cromdale.
Small Tortoiseshells
26/03/2022  This seems to have been a good day to see Comma butterflies, I've heard of 4 sightings, 1 each at Nethybridge, Forres, Logie Steading and Cullen.
25/03/2022 Bob Turner and I saw our first butterfly of the year, a Peacock, near Loch Pityoulish yesterday which we didn't get a photo of.  We had more success today with the Peacock we saw in a neighbour's garden in Aviemore.
24/03/2022  Barry Blake reports that after a slow start to the year ther is suddenly an abundance of moths in VC105, notably Yellow Horned.  The Oak Beauty pictured below is the second record for VC105, the first being reported last year from a different site.
Oak Beauty
22/03/2022 Mike Taylor had Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral butterflies in his Boat of Garten garden.
24/01/2022 Dean MacAskill saw his first butterfly of the year, a Peacock, at Glen Loth, Sutherland.

23/01/2022 Pete Moore had a look in some abandoned cottages on Dava moor and found a total of 22 Small Tortoiseshell and 1 Peacock butterfly and 4 Herald moths hibernating.

Small Tortoiseshell  Herald Moth
Small Tortoiseshell, above, Herald, right


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