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Latest news archive

Items from 2013 appear on this page

Details of unusual or unseasonal sightings are especially welcome for inclusion on this page. Please send your contributions to webmaster@highland-butterflies.org.uk.

Items from previous years have been archived, but can still be accessed by clicking the links below: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 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | 2020 | 2021 | 2022


Comma at GrantownMany thanks to Jennifer Bates for sharing this exciting record of a Comma butterfly seen in her garden in Grantown on Spey today.



At Inverness, Ewan Munro trapped a couple of interesting moths in his garden on the night of the 24th August, namely an Old Lady Moth (below L) and a Northern Rustic (below R). These are the 5th and 7th records for East Inverness-shire respectively. In addition, the Northern Rustic is the first to be recorded in East Inverness-shire since 1997.

  Northern Rustic (Ewan Munro)Old Lady Moth (Ewan Munro)

Dun-bar (Barry Blake)At Gairloch, Barry Blake found this Dun-bar in his trap. Dun-bar is featured in August's Moths of the Month, which describes its occurence in the north as 'mainly an eastern species, being scarce or absent in the west and north'.

Also tonight, at the same site, Barry caught Dotted Carpet, another first, but less of a surprise, and they were in abundance.


Scarce Silver Y (Nigel Richards)Nigel Richards caught this Scarce Silver Y in his light trap in Kildary, East Ross, on 8 August.

Below, is the Triple-spotted Clay he caught on 6 August.

06/08/2013 Triple-spotted Clay (Nigel Richards)Triple-spotted Clay, caught in light trap at Kildary on 6 August by Nigel Richards.
30/07/2013 Graham Crittenden trapped two fresh Straw Underwings on 30 July in the dunes at Melvich on the north coast of VC108. This is the most northerly record for the Straw Underwing and a first for VC108.

Thanks to Martin Hind, Easter Ross Countryside Ranger, for this report:

Today, Saturday 27 July, I led the ranger event at Aultgowrie to look at butterflies and dragonflies around Achederson Farm mill pond. Weather looked suspect with heavy rain the day before dampening spirits. Fortunately on the day bright sunshine was the order of the day as we wandered up the farm track from the road. Speckled Wood, Scotch Argus and Meadow Brown along with Large White butterflies greated us as we passed by. Previous years also had Peacock and Red Admiral along this track although absent this day. Once up past the farmhouse, Dark Green Fritillaries were spotted along with a Common Blue amongst the ragwort. Pearl-bordered Fritillaries were searched for but not seen this time. Scotch Argus, Small Tortoiseshell, and Large and Small Heaths were seen and caught amongst the flowers just below the mill pond. Various grass moths and an Antler Moth were also caught.

At the mill pond the dragon and damselflies kept us amused with mating pairs of large red, common blue and blue tailed damselflies in tandem all seen laying eggs in the water. Emerald damselflies were also spotted amongst the rushes. Meanwhile common hawker, four spotted chaser and black darter where seen hunting over the pond and a lone pair of black darter mating and egg laying despite being harried by other male black darters. After lunch we headed out along the track towards Tighachrochadair where more large and small heath along with a couple of Scotch Argus and Common Blue were spotted along with a gold ringed dragonfly. We did record twin lobed deerfly with its bright green eyes, a lone dark giant horsefly and a number of notched-horned clegs as they attempted a free meal from us in passing. Not bad for a day that had heavy rain forecast with 9 butterfly and 8 dragonfly species seen in one small location and that was missing another 5 butterfly species that I know about .


Slender BrindleOn 27 July Nigel Richards caught another new macro for VC106 in the light trap in Kildary, East Ross, namely Slender Brindle.

25/07/2013 On 25 July Nigel Richards caught 8 Lyme Grass moths in a light trap set on the south side of the Dornoch Firth. This is a new species for East Ross, VC106. He also had another new micro for VC106 the same night at the same site, namely Agriphila selasella.

Lyme Grass

Lyme Grass

Agriphila selasella

Agriphila selasella


RingletOn a short walk in Culbin Forest, from Wellhill car park, Speckled Wood was the most numerous species, plus 5 Ringlet (illus) and a Common Blue. Sunny with cool onshore breeze, though warm & sheltered in forest.

Brian Neath, writing from Dornie in the west, reports that "It has been strange not to see any butterflies on several warm days during July. However I had 5 Dark Green Fritillaries and 5 Common Blues on Carr Brae on the 20th, and had my first Scotch Argus of the year in our garden today (22nd July). A huge catch of c.300 moths of 63 species on 20th included 25 Grey Arches, 18 Riband Wave, 16 Green Arches, 2 more Satin Lutestring and only my second record of Orange Swift.


Marsh Oblique-barredNigel Richards caught two Marsh Oblique-barred at Kildary, East Ross, in the light trap - a first for VC106.

Thanks to Tony Mainwood for this report:

"The transect count at Loch Fleet today produced a record total of 445 Common Blues. The previous highest count was 337 in 2004 while they dropped to a maximum count of just 22 in 2007.

"Grayling also scored quite heavily today with a total of 63. with just two higher counts of 81 in 2004 and 90 in 2006. We also include Six-spot Burnet in the counts and this year's maximum was 367 on July 6th but they were down to 29 while the previous maximum was 508 in 2012. Dark Green Fritillary at 35, Meadow Brown at 19 and Small Heath at 117 were all fairly modest counts but the season is far from over and there may be higher counts still to come. "

Thanks also to David Butterfield who reports that

"I was in the hills north of Erchless on 19th July and logged at least 315 Large Heath in an area centred around NH4246, and this was by no means a comprehensive survey. Also, in the area around NH439452 I logged 12 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 13 Meadow Brown, 6 Small Heath and 5 Common Blue."


Thanks to Nigel Richards for sharing these records of micro moths new to VC106 (East Ross), caught at Kildary over the last few weeks:

Dichrorampha aeratana
Dichrorampha sedatana
Opostega salaciella


Dichrorampha aeratana

Dichrorampha aeratana

Dichrorampha sedatana

Dichrorampha sedatana

Opostega salaciella

Opostega salaciella

11/07/2013 Small HeathOn a walk from Braes, Isle of Skye, round the loch towards the Sligachan Inn, Catherine Atkins saw numerous Small Heaths and Common Blues.

Audrey and Bob Turner had a walk along the coast at Balintore and Shandwick today and saw the largest number of butterflies they'd seen this year:

Ringlet = 11,
Meadow Brown = 4
Small Heath = 7
Northern Brown Argus = 6
Speckled Wood = 1
Dark Green Fritillary = 1
Small Blue = 1
Small Copper = 1
Green-veined White = 3

There were also some moths:
Six-spot Burnet = 11
July Belle = 8
Silver-ground Carpet = 5
Large Yellow Underwing = 1

A gloriously sunny day with just a very gentle sea breeze.


Dark Green FritillaryDark Green Fritillaries in abundance along the cliff-top footpath between Portknockie and Findochty (east Moray/Banffshire). As many as five seen nectaring on one patch of clover. Also 2 Ringlets, 1 Common Blue and 20+ Six-spot Burnet moths.

V warm & sunny.


Blomer's Rivulet recorded at Lochaline (first record from Scotland).

Press release (PDF file) - also report of field trip to Mull on 14th June.


Thanks to Kevin and Sandra Stanbridge for reporting seeing 4-5 Small Blues at Burghead, Moray, today.

Dingy Skipper (A Turner)At Glenfeshie, by the river Feshie (grid ref NH8401), Audrey and Bob Turner found a total of 8 Dingy Skippers (illustrated).

There were also some Orange Tips and Green-veined Whites.


Helen Mainwood recorded 4 Small Blues on the Loch Fleet transect (SE Sutherland) this afternoon.

Catherine MacLeod also saw 4 at Portknockie today.

03/06/2013 Mother Shipton (Nigel Richards)Nigel Richards photographed this Mother Shipton on the salt marsh at Dornoch Point this morning
31/05/2013 George Mair saw 5 Small Blues at Portknockie (Moray) this morning.

Pearl-bordered FritillariesRon and Dot Ruston photographed this pair of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries on their transectt at Polmaily (Balnain) today in glorious weather. This was their first sighting of PBF at Polmaily this year.



Narrow-bordered Bee HawkmothFay Wilkinson writes, 'I have been delighted to have this little beauty (Narrow-bordered Bee Hawkmoth) in my garden on sunny afternoons recently. It is feeding on forget-me-not and aubretia mainly - and doesn't mind hanging around to get its photo taken. Tony Mainwood (County Moth Recorder) tells me it's a first for East Sutherland'.


Streamer (B Blake)Thanks to Barry Blake who reports finding a Streamer (upper pic) and Barred Umber in traps in the birch woods at Beinn Eighe. An improvement on the previous Friday, when he and Tony Mainwood set 10 traps at Beinn Eighe and caught not a single moth between them!



Barred Umber (B Blake)

27/05/2013 Mark Wynn saw several Green Hairstreaks at Allt Coire Mhuillidh (NH 27 39) in Glen Strathfarrar.

Small Purple-barred (Nigel Richards)Nigel Richards photographed this Small Purple-barred on the sand dunes on the south side of Loch Fleet, Sutherland, today. The colours are particularly striking - click on the image to enlarge it.

07/05/2013 and 09/05/2013

Brian Neath reports from Dornie:

A warm night on 7th produced 111 moths of 26 species including 14 firsts for the year. Clouded Drab the most numerous with 22 followed by Double-striped Pug with 15. Firsts for the year included 7 Early Thorn, 2 Light Knot-grass, 2 Red Twin-spot Carpet and single Scalloped Hazel, Lunar Marbled Brown, Glaucous Shears, Grey Birch and Least Black Arches.

The 9th May was the best butterfly day to date with Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Green-veined White, Orange-tip and Speckled Wood all seen on Carr Brae.


Brian Neath (writing on 3rd May) reports seeing a male Orange-tip at Ardelve on the 1st. This was one of the better sunny days but the temperatures were still low and there had been torrential rain since. Otherwise only one or two Peacocks and Small Tortoiseshells so far and there had been no suitable nights for moth trapping since 12th April.

Brian did have 2 Engrailed at the windows on 15th April and a brave Water Carpet on 29th.

30/04/2013 Pete Moore reports seeing his first Small Tortoiseshell since his probable sighting on Feb 27th - a full 2 months ago! This definite sighting took place this afternoon in Pete's office garden in Insh village.
14/04 to 16/04/2013

Thanks to Nigel Richards for contributing these photos of micro moths caught at Kildary, East Ross between 14th and 16th April.

L-R: Acleris literana, Acleris hastiana, Acleris logiana.

Acleris logiana (N Richards)Acleris hastiana (N Richards)Acleris literana (N Richards)

14/04/2013 Thanks to Audrey and Bob Turner for reporting their first butterflies of 2013 - two Small Tortoiseshells, beside a farm track near the Findhorn river, just west of Forres at NJ0057.
12/04/2013 Twin-spotted Quaker (B Neath)Brian Neath had his largest catch of the year at Dornie tonight - 78 moths of 10 species. Brian said the highlight was what appears to be the first Twin-spotted Quaker for VC105 West Ross and the first post-2000 record north of the Great Glen.

Early Grey (Barry Blake)Red Sword-grass (Barry Blake)Thanks to Barry Blake for reporting a Red Sword-grass (L) and an Early Grey (R), caught at Lonemore, Gairloch, tonight. These are the first moths he has caught in this part of Wester Ross since 6th March.

Thanks also to Ewan Munro for his record of a Small Tortoiseshell seen at almost the exact same spot (NH346032) at which Stuart Benn saw his Peacock on 31st March.

31/03/2013 Thanks to Stuart Benn for reporting a Peacock at Aberchalder above Loch Oich (NH 346036) today - his first butterfly this year.

Sexton-beetles request:

Sexton-beetles often come to moth traps. With only 5 species occurrring in the Highlands it should be possible for moth trappers to identify them with confidence - if necessary referring to the keys on the HBRG website at: www.hbrg.org.uk/FoHW/Nicrophorus/Nicrophorus.html

HBRG is therefore asking moth-ers to report any records to records@hbrg.org.uk

Records should contain the usual what/when/where/who details, with a 6-figure OSGR. If in doubt, HBRG is happy to receive photos or specimens.


Brian Neath, emailing from Dornie, reports that 32 moths of 9 species were attracted to his trap on 16th March. These included his earliest record to date of an Early Tooth-striped and his first Common Quakers of the year.

This was Brian's highest species count so far this year but he had a larger total count of 61 moths of 7 species on 28th February thanks to 31 Mottled Greys.


Dotted Border (Nigel Richards)Early Moth (Nigel Richards)Nigel Richards emailed from Ross-shire on 23rd March to say 'not much about here, but I recorded this male Early Moth and female Dotted Border at Kildary on 4 March'.


First butterfly sighting of the year in Highland? Pete Moore writes, 'Believe it or not, when I glanced out of the office window (today) I saw a butterfly jinking down the street (Insh). I rushed outside but couldn't find it. Couldn't get a definite ID but I would guess Small Tortoiseshell at such an early date. It was a warm and sunny day, especially warm inside garden sheds and behind glass. Small Tort woken out of hibernation by the heat?'

Insh is a small village near Kingussie, in the Cairngorms National Park, and close to the RSPB Insh Marshes Reserve.

17/02/2013 Dotted Border (T Mainwood)Thanks to Tony Mainwood for this record of a Dotted Border at Golspie tonight.

Spruce Carpet (T Mainwood)A very surprising Spruce Carpet on 5th Jan at Golspie - a late individual rather than an early one.

Thanks to Tony Mainwood for the record and photo.


More moth activity in Grantown on Spey - Pete Moore recorded a Many-plumed Moth at his home today.

Chestnut (J Hammond)Thanks to James Hammond for this picture of a Chestnut, attracted to MV light at Forres today.


Pale Brindled Beauty, Golspie (Tony Mainwood)Thanks to Tony Mainwood for this record and photo of a Pale Brindled Beauty, seen today at Golspie, SE Sutherland.

Pete Moore adds the micro-moth Agonopterix heracliana, also on Jan 2nd, at his home in Grantown on Spey.


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