Just back from 6 days in Scotland via Cumbria with Sami. A truly superb time was had, if just a bit ruined by constant rain/cloud cover for the final two and a half days.
Well, we started quite well - Arneside Knott in Cumbria yielded plenty of High Brown Frit activity plus lots of Graylings semele
on the gravel paths. A pair of Northern Brown Argus salmacis
were lifers for us!
Nearby we hit Meathop Moss and were soon taking pics of Large Heath davus
, our second butterfly lifer of the day, plus Manchester Treble-bars and Oak Eggars zooming across the heather at speeds clearly approaching Mach 2
On into Scotland where we wild-camped on the Ardnamurchan Peninsular, a Wildcat in the headlamps being a superb bonus although I was somewhat disappointed to note that the leftover midges from May's trip were still present and were just as bloodthirsty as ever
We saw lots of Dark Green Fritillary scotica
, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary insularum
, Meadow Brown splendida
, lots and lots of Chimneysweepers, Northern Emerald Dragonflies and Common Hawker at Ariundle Oakwoods/Fairy Street. And maybe/probably Azure Hawker, but not conclusively. At Ardnamurchan Point we saw several Graylings atlantica
(yet another lifer!)but none of the hoped for Orcas. Just east of Kilchoan we found Large Heath scotica
(and yep, that was new for us too!!!)
The next day we attempted Small Heath rhoumensis
on Rhum, but ended up on a rainswept Canna instead. Four Meadow Browns splendida
and wet feet were all we had to show for our efforts. Beautiful island though...even if it is littered with rabbit corpses (?)
Heading into Speyside we hit more inclement weather. During the sunnier spells we managed Northern Damselfly at three well-separated sites (lifer!), Common Emerald Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Large Red Damselfly, 4-spotted Chaser, Golden-ringed Dragonflies, Raft Spiders, Small Heaths, DGF, SPBF, lots of Ringlets including arete
, Northern Brown Argus salmacis
(another lifer for us) but not a lot else.
We attempted Ben Lawers for Mountain Ringlet scotica
but the low temperature (and horizontal rain!) hampered our best efforts. More wet feet without a lot to show for it. Still, we had to try...
We somehow ended up on Bookham Common in Surrey (as you do..!) and managed one battered Purple Emperor atop the Master Tree, many Purple Hairstreaks - including a dozen in knee-high brambles, probably nearly 100 Silver-washed Fritillaries on brambles and Marsh Thistles (several dark abbs noted and one stunning valesina
). Plenty of Comma, 4 fresh Peacocks, umpteen Ringlets and Meadow Browns, several Green-veined Whites, Large and Small Skippers, a few male Gatekeepers, an obliterae
White Admiral amongst small numbers of the usual types, a Speckled Wood and my first stridulating Roesel's Bush-cricket of the summer.
Phew - a butterflyfest extraordinaire
Many thanks to Members who gave us helpful hints and advice regards our Scottish targets. We tried our best, blame the weather for thwarting our attempt. Still, if I can sweet-talk the boss I may be able to try again in 10 days time!!!
Happy butterflying everybody!