Glasgow & SW Scotland Butterflies

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November 22, 2009

Chequered Skipper Survey, Achintore, Fort William, 2 June 2009

Filed under: Butterflies — Andrew Masterman @ 4:22 pm

Sallie Jack spent couple of hours at Achintore, near Fort William NN0971 to see if she could find Chequered Skipper last recorded around there in 2004.  After about an hour, she found one at NN 098 719. It settled first on dead bracken, then on fresh bracken then on pignut. Close by were Small Heath Butterflies and Common Heath moth. Before that, she saw a Clouded Border, Brown Silver-lines, plenty of Green-veined White butterflies, Small Heath, Painted Ladies and Speckled Wood. These were all in NN0971. A Small Tortoiseshell was at NN097719.

Below are some photos of the habitat in the vicinity of the observation which don’t suggest that the site is overgrown:

Chequered Skipper site at NN098719

Chequered Skipper site at NN098719

 

Above photo shows a bracken glade enclosed by birch trees.

Achintore, very close to Chequered Skipper Observation

Achintore, very close to Chequered Skipper Observation

 

Above photos shows most of area is quite open with limited areas of birch woodland.

Above photo shows more of the same habitat looking east from Achintore.

Achintore - looking west back to road

Achintore - looking west back to road

 

Helen Bibby also visited the Achintore area in connection with work and found Chequered Skipper in the same square at NN095716 and in an adjacent square at NN086711.

Written by Andrew Masterman

November 17, 2009

Chequered Skipper Survey at Loch Etive 31 May 2009

Filed under: Butterflies — Andrew Masterman @ 7:54 pm

There are some good butterfly sites to be visited on the north side of Loch Etive by walking along the shore path from the end of the road at Bonawe (NN0133). You can see the UK BAP species, Pearl-bordered Fritillary & Chequered Skipper in May/June time together with Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Green Hairstreak & Small Heath. Grayling can be found at the end of the road at Bonawe in July. And the views across Loch Etive are fantastic.

Looking up Loch Etive

Looking up Loch Etive

 

Branch members, Scott Shanks & Louise Collins visited this area  on 31 May to look for Chequered Skipper during the Chequered Skipper weekend 30 & 31 May 2009. A total of 42 Chequered Skipper were seen at a number of sites along the north shore of Loch Etive which are shown on the map below.

Chequered Skipper observations at Loch Etive 31 May 2009

Chequered Skipper observations at Loch Etive 31 May 2009

 
Each Chequered Skipper in map above is shown with a blue circle labelled with a waymark number. Below are descriptions of habitat at each of the waymarks.

Waymark 156-158 (Lag Choan, Loch Etive):small molinia glade with bog myrtle near path surrounded by scrub trees with bracken hillside behind. Tormentil, heath spotted orchid. Patchy bracken at back. Territorial male
 
Waymark 159. As 156-158, but more regeneration of alder scrub.
 
Waymark 164. Large glade by loch/Lochside slope. dense bracken, Lots of birch regeneration.May be lost soon! Tormentil, bluebell
 
Waymark 165. Shallow lochside glade (large). High Bracken, birch& hazel regeneration.3chequered skippers on the path (after salts?) Tormentil, buttercups
 
Waymark 166. 2 CS on path. Above path is large bracken slope behind trees that line path. Bluebells, Tormentil, buttercups.
 
Waymark 167. CS on path. Lots of scrub around path, but flowers at side- Tormentil.
 
Waymark 169. Good mollina glade, but little bit of birch regen. tormentil.
 
Waymark 171. CS on path. Bog myrtle glade with birch regeneration. Not much bracken. tormentil
 
Waymark 174- Small glade. lots of regeneration! Tormentil, high bracken.
 
Waymark 175. Wide bracken slope with bog myrtle. Pretty open, but a few small birch.
 
Waymark 176. Small high bracken glade next to path. Birch regen and myrtle.Tomenti, bluebells
 
Waymark 177. Repeat of above, but has bugle
 
Waymark 178. good glade. Some regeneration of birch, soem bog myrtle. Not much bracken
 
Waymark 179. Large open bracken/bog myrtle slope next to loch.
 
Waymark 181. Large open hillside by loch. Some bracken and birch regeneration. Buttercups, bluebells, tormentil. Grazed by cattle.

The following are examples of Chequered Skipper habitat found beside the shore path at Loch Etive:

Bracken glade at edge of woodland near Lag Choan

Bracken glade at edge of woodland near Lag Choan

 

Scott in an area becoming overgrown with Alder

Scott in an area becoming overgrown with Alder

Louise in a Chequered Skipper Glade

Louise in a Chequered Skipper Glade

 

The following are some photos of Chequered Skipper taken during May 2009.

Chequered Skipper along path at Loch Etive

Chequered Skipper along path at Loch Etive

 

Chequered Skipper at Appin 30 May 2009

Chequered Skipper at Appin 30 May 2009

 

Chequered Skipper Mating

Chequered Skipper Mating

November 16, 2009

Chequered Skipper Survey on Ardgour 31 May 2009

Filed under: Butterflies — admin @ 7:13 pm


We took the Corran ferry to the west side of Loch Linnhe and turned south along the coast road. References provided for Doire Donn SWT reserve to the north were numerous and recent, whereas those to the south were fewer, with only one recent (2008) record from Glen Gour.

 

Sallachan is at the mouth of Glen Gour, and the 1985 record for NM985633 is from an area to the north of the village that seemed quite heavily wooded, although there was marshy ground between there and the river. We did not see any butterflies near here. The glen opens out to the west of Sallachan and has obviously been previously dammed and used as a reservoir (old broken dam, disused boathouses etc). The north side (therefore south-facing slopes) did not have an obvious path or access route, but the south side has a public footpath linking to Strontian 12 miles away. The 2008 record NM968631 is along this route, so we started heading up the glen along this path.

 

Chequered Skipper seen along sheltered stream

Chequered Skipper seen along sheltered stream

 

Several singletons (4) and a mating pair were present near the stream, along with green hairstreak, small heath, painted lady and small pearl-bordered fritillary. Bracken was present but sparse; bluebells sparse; tormentil and orchid present in reasonable quantity; Molinia plentiful and in good condition; some regenerating birch.

 

Glen Gour at this point is a very wide valley with small streams coming down from the hills on both sides, and although the area we were investigating had north-east facing slopes, chequered skippers were still present – the opposite side of the valley looked to have even more habitat suitability.

 

We walked a little way further along the path, but not as far as the 2008 record at NM968631, as we decided to return to the car and look at other sites further along the coast. There is every reason to believe that chequered skipper are present in number in Glen Gour, and any of the sheltered stream gullies provide suitable habitat.

 

Other records: NM974629 mother shipton moth; NM972630 barred umber, green veined white; NM971631 orange-tip male, drinker larva; many dragonflies were also recorded – 4-spotted chaser, large red damselfly, golden-ringed dragonfly, blue-tailed damselfly – all these have been / will be forwarded to the relevant recorders.

 

A short way along the road to the south we stopped in a layby to admire some seals hauled out on rocks nearby, and while Ramsay took some photos, I crossed the road and checked out the entrance to a disused quarry – in a very small sheltered spot amongst the birch trees was a male chequered skipper holding territory in what I would not have anticipated was good habitat! This probably indicates that the hills above Glen Gour are well suited to chequered skipper and support a healthy population. GPS reading: NM97564 62265. The tourist couple from Yorkshire sharing the layby were sufficiently impressed (eventually) and took several photos of this special butterfly to show friends and family back home!

 

Next on the list were the 1990 records from Rubha Ruadh NM966614 and NM957606. We decided to go to the further south of the two records to confirm presence and then carry on down the coast to look for new sites.

Chequered Skipper habitat at Rubha Ruadh

Chequered Skipper habitat at Rubha Ruadh

 

Two male chequered skipper were displaying territorial behaviour in the foreground of the above picture, GPS reading NM95739 60720. A wet flush heading up to the right and a stream to the left bordered by a fairly wide boggy area coming down the quite steep south-east facing slope provided ideal habitat for skippers and other butterflies and moths. Abundant Molinia and bog myrtle, sparse oak trees, some

bracken and tormentil, and lots of orchids.

 

Nearby, alongside the stream (GPS reading NM95708 60691) we recorded 4 more chequered skipper, small heath, small pearl-bordered fritillary, green hairstreak, probable pearl-bordered fritillary (no photo but I had a good view with binoculars of one very worn individual), and an argent & sable moth.

 

We drove further south along the coast, taking the B8043 over the River Tarbert rather than continuing round to Strontian. Although we stopped to investigate several stream courses along this road, we did not find any more chequered skipper. The land here is stocked with sheep, and obviously heavily grazed compared to the hillsides north of the River Tarbert. We did record another mother shipton and some small heath (NM922584), along with a variable damselfly which pounced on a small moth I was looking at with my close-focus binoculars!

 

Further investigation of gullies and flushes alongside the A861 between Inversanda and Strontian along Glen Tarbert will I’m sure produce many more records of chequered skipper, as would a walk along the length of Glen Gour, but the countryside to the south of the Tarbert seems less hospitable.

Written by Heather Young

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