Butterfly Conservation - saving butterflies, moths and our environment
Butterfly Conservation
saving butterflies, moths and our environment
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Welcome to Highland Branch of Butterfly Conservation

Butterfly Conservation is a registered charity dedicated to the conservation of butterflies and moths.

New events and news stories are now also being posted on the Branch 'In Your Area ' page at http://butterfly-conservation.org/313/highlands-and-islands-branch.html


 You can also find us on FaceBook at facebook.com/ButterflyConservationHighlandsIslands

  There is now also a Facebook group, Highland Moths & Butterflies, to share photos, sightings and information.  https://www.facebook.com/groups/highlandbutterflies/


Twitter Logo You can also find us on Twitter - BC Highland on Twitter

New additions

Please note that all events have been cancelled until further notice.  This is due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.  Please see this pdf for updated guidance for moth and butterfly recording.

The 2019 WCBS Newsletter is now available here.

The 2020 edition of the branch newsletter, the Chequered Skipper, was posted out to all branch members on Monday 23rd March.


Highland Branch

Highland Branch covers Highland, Moray, the Western Isles, and Orkney and Shetland.

Branch field trip to Morrich More, Tain. Photo by Bill Slater.

Our activities include recording butterflies and moths, organising events and field trips, and publishing newsletters, many of which you can download from this site.

We welcome contributions about interesting sightings of butterflies and moths, and queries relating to identification. The information you provide will appear on the In Your Area page at: http://butterfly-conservation.org/313/highlands-and-islands-branch.html

To get in touch, please contact:

Kentish Glory     Moths of the Month

Roy Leverton illustrates a selection of characteristic moths to look out for in our area at different times of the year.  Please click on the links below for a month by month illustrated list.

January and February     March     April    

May     June     July     August    

September     October     November and December

Gift Ideas

Children's author Paul Andrews has signed a contract donating a percentage of the sales from his children's books to Butterfly Conservation.  The four titles are as follows and can be found as print on demand or for Kindle;

Busy Bee and the Endangered Meadow

Brown Bear's Big Day Out

Clever Dad and the Pirate Ship

Clever Dad and the Space Rocket

Wild Isle Projects

The Wild Isle Projects shop on Etsy donates to BC Highland Branch, the shop can be seen on this link.

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.

Pots for Pollinators


Butterfly Conservation and B&Q are asking gardeners to help the UK's butterflies, bees and moths.  See here for more information.

Kentish Glory Pheromone Trials 2017 Report

This is a report that summarises the main findings of last years trials and surveys.  There was good success with some new sites being found and further trials and survey work will be carried out this year.  There is a shorter version of the report which relates just to the Highland branch area which will be published in the Chequered Skipper, but you can read the full report here.

Dr David Barbour Obituary

Dr David Barbour

David Barbour presented with his favourite tipple at the BCS Spring Recorders’ gathering in 2018 after 21 years as Highland butterfly recorder.  Photo by Jim Asher.

Sadly Dr David Barbour died in December 2019.  You can read his obituary here.

We have just found out that David has been awarded the 2020 Royal Entomological Society’s Award for Insect Conservation jointly with Dr Mark Young.  This is awarded for an outstanding contribution to insect conservation on the basis of lifetime achievement, and the RES statement, which can be found on their website reads:

David Barbour was an entomologist who made a major contribution to the conservation of Scottish butterflies and moths, notably the New Forest burnet Zygaena viciae. Thought to be extinct, probably as a result of excessive collecting in the New Forest, a population was discovered in Argyll in the 1960's. After a serious decline in the 1980's, intervention by David and Mark Young resulted in its successful recovery, and it remains the only known population in the UK (Young and Barbour, 2004: Mark Young pers. comm.). David worked as an independent consultant for many years after leaving the Forestry Commission. His understanding of forestry and land management generally made him well aware of the pressures on biodiversity and the need to find practical solutions for insect conservation alongside other land uses.

Highland Branch AGM

The AGM in 2019 was held on the 13th of April and the minutes can be read here.

Contacting Highland Branch

To contact Highland Branch on any matter relating to butterflies and moths in the Branch area, please email BChighlandcontact@yahoo.com. Enquiries relating to identification are welcome, and if you can attach a photo, so much the better. Contributions for the Latest news page can also be submitted in this way.

You can also contact the Branch using the feedback form on the Contact us page.

To submit records of butterflies and moths from the Branch area, including the Hebrides and Northern Isles, please send them to the appropriate Butterfly Recorder or County Moth Recorder, whose contact details can be found on the Your records page.

Chequered Skipper - Highland Branch 2019 newsletter

A pdf version of our 2019 newsletter has been uploaded to the newsletter section of the website here.

Atlas of UK Butterflies 2010 - 2014

Although not available in paper format, this report has UK distribution maps for all resident and regular migrant species apart from Large Blue based on the most recent five-year survey of the Butterflies for the New Millenium recording scheme.  Maps show distribution in each 10km by 10km grid square for 2010-2014, as well as historical records.  The report can be seen here.

Certain areas remain under-recorded, particularly Skye and the Small Isles, parts of Wester Ross and Central Sutherland.  Anyone getting a chance to visit and record in these areas in the next two seasons could make a welcome contribution to filling in these gaps.

Scottish Macro-moth List, 2017

This list aims to include every species of macro-moth reliably recorded in Scotland, with an assessment of its Scottish status, as guidance for observers contributing to the National Moth Recording Scheme (NMRS). It updates and amends the previous lists of 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014 and 2015.

Notes on the Scottish Macro-moth List, 2017 (PDF file)

Scottish Macro-moth List, 2017 (MS Excel file)

The Wider Countryside Butterfly Survey (WCBS)

2019 WCBS Newsletter

The WCBS is a UK-wide project looking at changes in the populations of the commoner butterfly species. Before the WCBS was set up, systematic butterfly-monitoring was often restricted to nature reserves or other good butterfly areas. While this was very useful for monitoring the rarer species found at these sites, the results of such monitoring did not produce results representative of the countryside as a whole. The WCBS was devised with the intent to rectify this discrepancy, which it does by choosing survey sites at random.

Hundreds of one-kilometre squares have been randomly chosen across the country, each one waiting to be surveyed just twice a year by willing volunteers. Here in Highland Branch (i.e. Highland, Moray, Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides) we have 80 of these squares... and many have not yet been surveyed at all! Who knows what unusual butterflies might be hiding in these unexplored sites? Could you be the intrepid surveyor willing to go where no butterfly recorder has gone before? Or are you a seasoned WCBS-er wanting to continue with your existing site (or even to try a different one!)? Whichever description suits you best, please get in touch and I will furnish you with more information about the project and give you the locations of squares near you!  There is also more information on our "Surveys" page here.

Kirstie Ross is the new Highland Branch WCBS Champion

Chequered Skipper Surveys 2012 - 2014

We have been very pleased with the interest in, and the results from, the 2012 - 2014 surveys.

The aim of the survey was to target recording at 100 1km squares that were predicted, through computer modeling, to be the most suitable 1km squares for the butterfly in Scotland, but where it had not previously been recorded.

To download a copy of the reports, please click here. (PDF file)

Garden Moth Scheme 2012 - 2016

The Garden Moth Scheme (GMS) runs from the beginning of March to early November, with people recording the numbers of around 300 species of the more common moths in their gardens once a week throughout this period.  To download a copy of the reports including Highland data, please click here.

Moths of Caithness

This website has been launched to make available information about the status and distribution of moths in Caithness so as to encourage greater interest in the recording of moths in the County.

Please visit the site at: www.caithnessmoths.org.uk

Butterfly Atlas

Butterfly AtlasA few copies of 'Atlas of Butterflies in Highland and Moray', published in 2008 by Butterfly Conservation Highland Branch and Highland Biological Recording Group, are still available, and we're offering them at the reduced price of £1 plus £1.40 p&p please email unicorn64@btinternet.com for more information.









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