Scotland trip, May 2016.

           I spent a week in the village of Onich, near Glencoe, concentrating on Butterflies and moths as I have seen all the birds on previous trips. I arrived in the afternoon to clearing skies after a day of heavy rain. My first stop was at a great view from the A82 north of Tyndrum, of the railway bridge far off in the valley with the cloud and mist still covering the mountaintops.

                             The rail bridge north of Tyndrum.

           I arrived at the house I was renting and after unloading, took a stroll along the bay across the road. Seeing Rock pipits and 2 Ancylis badiana.

                                   View across the bay from the house.

         I took an evening drive around Loch Leven and tapped a Pseudotelphusa paripunctella from some Bog myrtle on the hillside.

                       Loch Leven.

            Pseudotelphusa paripunctella.

           I ran the moth trap in the garden overnight and caught 18 species, including Coxcomb prominent, Foxglove pug, Barred umber and Twenty plume moth.

                   Barred umber.

               The next morning was bright and sunny and displaying Tree pipit and Common sandpiper were watched from the doorstep by me and a pair of Hooded crows and Common gulls.
                I headed down to Cuil bay, hoping for Dew moth but the wind was too strong coming in off the sea but a brief Twite made up for it.

                       Cuil bay.

                           Cuil bay.

         Heading south I saw an island castle and pulled over to take a shot, walking back to the car I saw an adult White tailed sea eagle being mobbed by two Hooded crows quite close. By the time I got my camera out it had vanished behind some tall pines.

               Island castle.

             I then went to Glasdrum wood reserve, famous for it's butterflies, and saw 6 Chequered skippers, 2 Pearl bordered fritilliaries and 2 Anania funebris. Also Silver Y and Ruby tiger moth.

               Chequered skipper.

                  Chequered skipper.

                Pearl bordered fritilliary.

                  Anania funebris.

              I then did a loop back to the A82 and headed north towards Glencoe, stopping at Lairig gartain for a stroll. I have often passed this valley on other trips and we never had time to stop there before. It looks a great, wild place and I saw Cuckoo, Crossbill, Grey wagtail, Sand martin and a few Satyr pugs there.

           Lairig gartain.

                          Satyr pug.

               On the way back i called into a moth contact i had made, Sallie Jack, and had a cuppa with her and hubbie Gordon, leaving my trap in their garden overnight.

               It was another cold night and there were just 8 species in the trap in the morning, the best being 2 Marbled brown, 2 Peppered moth and a Poplar hawkmoth.

Poplar hawkmoth.

Sallie's garden, 

After taking the trap back i went up on Glencoe ski lift to see what was on the high moorland.
Walking across to the summit of  Creag dhubh I saw Golden plover and plenty of the tortrix Ancylis unguicella. I also potted a tiny micro which needs to be confirmed for ID.

Ancylis unguicella.

Descending in the ski lift to Blackrock cottage, i did the moorland path there, seeing Common heath, Satyr pug, Aphelia viburnana and Argyrotaenia ljungiana. I then drove around prospecting for good trap sites and saw Cuckoo and Dipper at Glen ochry and Cuckoo (common up here), Stonechat, Grey wagtail and the Longhorn beetle Rhagium bifasciatum in Glen etive.

Glen etive.

   Rhagium bifasciatum.

Glen etive.

The next morning I headed east to Newtonmore and Carrbridge in an unsuccessful search for the elusive Small dark yellow underwing. The cloud cover and NE breeze did not help the search but i saw Merlin, Redpoll, Crossbill, Cuckoo and Red grouse at Newtonmore. And a search of the moorland fence posts gave me Light knot grass, Glaucous shears and Carpatolechia proximella.

Light knot grass.

Glaucous shears

Carpatolechia proximella

I also netted Argyrotaenia ljungiana on the moor.

Argyrotaenia ljungiana

Glen banchor, Newtonmore.

A search of Blar mor, near Carrbridge also drew a blank with the underwings but I found 2 Sweet gale moths on fence posts and a dead Grouse with some interesting burying beetles feasting. Not sure what they are yet.

Sweet gale moth.

Burying beetles on Grouse carcass.

I returned to the house, seeing Osprey from the car, and set the trap in the garden for the night.

Yet another cold, breezy night only saw 9 Species in the trap, But Lunar thorn was a new moth so I didn't complain! Also of note was a Cream wave.

Lunar thorn.

I went up to Glen nevis nature centre the next morning, where Tom Prescott had put out some traps overnight. Plenty of moths were on show, despite another cool night and new for me were Ringed carpet and Udea decrepitalis. A Saxon was also nice to see.

    Ringed carpet.


I then went up the valley to Steall gorge and falls, finding a Chequered skipper near the car park.

Steall falls. 

A warmer night was forecast, so I headed out with the traps, netting a nice Eulia ministrana near Kinlochleven at dusk.

Eulia ministrana.

There were lots of campers at Glen etive, so I headed to Glen orchy and set up the traps. It was warmer but still breezy and I managed to see 16 species up to 12:30am, when the temp dropped and I wrapped up. Light knot grass, Grey birch, Glaucous shears and Saxon were the highlights.


Light knot grass.

The next day, after a lie in, I went on the Glen nevis  gondola lift. Very little was seen on the tops but the views were stunning. A Rhagium inquisitor on the car roof kept me company over a coffee on my return.

View from the top of Glen nevis.

Rhagium inquisitor.

The gondolas.

Did my last nights trapping at Invercoe on a thankfully warm, still evening. Some midges were around at first but they soon disappeared to my surprise. The temp was still 13 degrees when I wrapped it up at 2am and I got 47 species. The highlights being - Capua vulgana, Broken barred carpet, Scorched wing, Peacock moth, Least black arches, Autumn green carpet and Dwarf pug.

Peacock moth

Autumn green carpet

Capua vulgana.

After another lie in I ventured up to Rannoch moor, checking fence posts but only finding a few Drinker caterpillars. I took a longer drive through Glen etive, all the way to the loch, seeing Cuckoo and Goosander before returning to pack.

Rannoch moor

Rannoch moor

Glen etive

Loch etive.

I made my way home in the morning, stopping for a few hours at Gait barrows reserve, Cumbria. I visited this site last year but was too late for the Ladies slipper orchids. This year I was on time and saw 32 splendid examples of this rare plant. Bonus sightings were Small white wave and Speckled yellow, a species I had missed out on in Scotland.

Ladies slipper orchids.

Ladies slipper orchid.

       Small white wave.

The limestone terrain at Gait barrows.

Speckled yellow.

I thoroughly enjoyed this trip and plan on another, possibly in mid june to get different species. I returned home just in time to get a county tick in the form of a Squacco heron at Ogmore. Now to rest that sore left knee....           


Martyn Hnatiuk MartynH said...

Great report and photos, looks like you had a good time. The burying beetles are Oiceoptoma Thoracicum - black one with orange head. The orange striped one looks like Nicrophorus vespilloides, but I can't make out the antennae colour to be certain.

DRWG said...

Excellent set of photos Sid - a few moth ticks too!