Glasgow & SW Scotland Butterflies

Glasgow & SW Scotland Branch Website

March 9, 2010

Peacock - Kilmacolm - 07/03/10

Filed under: Uncategorized — Neil Gregory @ 8:33 pm

Hi,

We’ve had a report of a Peacock butterfly out and about in Kilmacolm on 7th March. It was then found resting on the snow!

Neil

March 7, 2010

Transparent Burnet Surveys in Argyll in 2010

Filed under: Moths — Andrew Masterman @ 11:24 am

Transparent Burnet (Zygaena purpuralis) like the other burnet moths is a striking insect. Instead of red spots, the Transparent Burnet sports bars of red on its transparent wings - hence its name.

Transparent Burnet   Credit: Neil Gregory

Transparent Burnet Credit: Neil Gregory

 

The strongholds of this amazing moth are the Hebridean islands of Mull, Skye, Ulva, Eigg, Canna, and Rhum and the only records on the mainland are around Oban and also in parts of Kintyre. It was seen on the islands of Kerrera and Lismore in 1960 but there are no recent records.

Transparent Burnet  Credit: Tom Prescott

Transparent Burnet Credit: Tom Prescott

The adults are day-flying in warm sunshine from early June to July and the caterpillars feed on Wild Thyme (Thymus praecox). It overwinters as a caterpillar. Its habitat is steep, heathy and grassy south and south-west facing slopes and under-cliffs. Sites with Transparent Burnet are normally within a few km of the coast on cliffs or steep hillside where Wild Thyme grows in abundance.

There are two methods of surveying this spectacular moth. Searching for the day-flying adults on sunny days from early June to July is the obvious one and if successful, you get the reward of seeing this beautiful moth. Alternatively, during April and early May, you can look for the full-grown caterpillars which are easy to spot on the low growing Wild Thyme  which is their foodplant.

Transparent Burnet nectaring on wild thyme  Credit: John Knowler

Transparent Burnet nectaring on wild thyme Credit: John Knowler

All the historical Transparent Burnet sites in vice-county 98 (Argyll Main) are shown on the map below but many of them are not recent and these sites need revisting to check that the moth is still present. Also,  it is very likely that Transparent Burnet is under-recorded.  So once you have checked out one of the known sites and have learnt to recognise the habitat and hopefully seen the insect itself, it is hoped that you might go on to look for Transparent Burnet as other potential sites along the coast.

SAFETY ADVICE: steep coastal cliffs which Transparent Burnet inhabits are potentially dangerous places should you slip so don’t put yourself at risk during these surveys. The adults are conspicuous insects and use of a pair of binoculars to scan suitable sites on cliffs is recommended and avoids the need for accessing steep slopes.

 

Transparent Burnet sites in Vice-County 98

Transparent Burnet sites in Vice-County 98

 
A closer up view of most of the records is shown in the two maps below:

Transparent Burnet sites around Loch Feochan

Transparent Burnet sites around Loch Feochan

 

Transparent Burnet sites around Glen Lonan

Transparent Burnet sites around Glen Lonan

 

And the grid references of all the sites and dates of last record are shown in the Table below. You can download the maps and Table in a Word document by clicking here.

Site

Gridref

Quantity

Date

Recorder

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM844229

1

03-Jun-08

Andrew Masterman

Argyll>Kerrara

NM801268

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Lismore>Loch Fiart

NM805375

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Oban>Loch Nell

NM82

0

1960

Tremewan, W.G.

Argyll>Loch Feochan>Minard

NM820237

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Oban>Glen Lonan

NM9128

0

1960

Unknown

Argyll>Oban>Glen Lonan

NM9128

0

1960

Thomson, G.

Argyll>Loch Feochan>Minard

NM8123

0

1978

Agassiz, Rev D.J.L.

Argyll>Oban>Glen Lonan

NM9128

0

1984

Hadley, M. & Church, S.H.

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM915372

0

1994

Bourn, N.

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM910373

0

23-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Loch Feochan>Minard

NM816237

0

23-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Oban>Loch Nell

NM884276

0

24-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Glen Lonan,>Deadh Choimhead

NM943286

0

24-Jun-88

W G Tremewan

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM917372

302

27-Jun-95

David Barbour

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM917372

34

04-Jul-95

David Barbour

Argyll>Oban>Beinn Lora

NM917372

32

11-Jul-95

David Barbour

Argyll>Oban>Gallanach

NM827262

1

30-May-04

Helen Bibby

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin  WGS block

NM846229

8

26-Jun-05

Jaimie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM842228

4

20-Sep-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM842228

10

22-Jun-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM842228

4

25-Jun-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Barndromin

NM846229

3

25-Jun-04

Jamie Mellor

Argyll>Oban>Minard Point

NM817237

0

21-Jun-82

McCormick, Roy F.

Argyll>Glen Lonan>Deadh Chomhead

NM946282

30

28-Jun-02

John Knowler

 

Written by Andrew Masterman

March 6, 2010

Fears grow for future of Britain’s rarest butterflies

Filed under: Butterflies, Conservation and Habitat Management — Andrew Masterman @ 11:50 am
Figures for butterfly sightings in 2009 have raised fears that five of Britain’s rarest butterflies face a growing risk of extinction. Their numbers last year either continued to plummet or remained at near rock bottom levels.
Conservationists are particularly concerned about the Duke of Burgundy, which has reached new low points in each of the past three summers and is now at its lowest level since monitoring began. The butterfly, which 50 years ago was a common sight in woodland clearings, now has less than 80 colonies throughout the whole of the UK. Other rare butterflies that remained at very low levels in 2009 include the High Brown Fritillary, with less than 50 colonies, and the Wood White and the Lulworth Skipper, both of which are down to under 100 colonies. Another rare species, the Pearl-bordered Fritillary, had its second worst year in 2009.
Concern for the future of these butterflies follows analysis of data collected by the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme from over 1,000 sites nationwide. The UKBMS is co-ordinated by the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the charity Butterfly Conservation.
Experts believe that the extremely wet weather throughout the summers of 2007 and 2008, followed by the above average rainfall of July and August 2009, have accelerated a long-term decline in numbers. Heavy rain makes it hard for butterflies to survive.
And it’s not just the rare butterflies that are having a tough time. According to the new data, collected in the course of last year by the UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme, some relatively common species including the Wall Brown, Small Skipper and Green Hairstreak also remained at very low numbers in 2009. The Small Tortoiseshell, which has suffered a serious decline in recent years, made a slight comeback.
The highlight of 2009 was the massive migration of Painted Lady butterflies, which originated in North Africa and arrived in vast swarms in early summer. At one point it was estimated there could have been over a billion Painted Ladies in the UK. However, the UKBMS figures indicate that this migration was not quite on the scale of the last big one in 1996.
The UKBMS statistics show a very modest overall recovery compared with the dire summer of 2008, which was the worst for 25 years. In addition to the abundance of the Painted Lady, some native butterflies also did well in 2009. These included the Green-veined White, Ringlet and Speckled Wood – all of which thrive in lush woodland areas and may have been beneficiaries of the damp but not particularly cold conditions.
Dr Tom Brereton, Head of Monitoring with the charity Butterfly Conservation, said: “We are particularly concerned about the Duke of Burgundy. At the start of the century there were about 200 colonies in the country. This number has now more than halved – and most colonies that remain are small. It is a serious situation.”
Butterflies are important as indicators, alerting us to underlying problems with the environment. If butterfly numbers are falling, inevitably other wildlife is in decline.
The main factors causing the long term decline of many butterfly species include the loss of crucial habitats such as flower rich grassland and the intensification of farming methods. A lack of management is also causing problems in habitats such as woodlands.
Each year the UKBMS collates data collected by hundreds of volunteers nationwide. Dr Marc Botham, a butterfly ecologist at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology who analysed the results said: “The results show the enormous value of long running datasets in identifying environmental problems. We are extremely grateful to the many volunteers who contribute each year. Through their efforts a new milestone was reached in 2009 when the number of sites monitored passed the 1,000 mark for the first time.”
Butterfly Conservation
Manor Yard
East Lulworth
Wareham
Dorset BH20 5QP
Tel. 01929 400 209 Fax 01929 400 210

Company limited by guarantee, registered in England (2206468). Charity registered in England and Wales (254937) and in Scotland (SCO39268).

**********************************************************************************************************
Butterfly Conservation is dedicated to saving Butterflies, Moths and their Habitats. If you would like further information please view our website at <http://www.butterfly-conservation.org/>

Over 40 years of saving butterflies, moths and their habitats.

March 3, 2010

Recording Butterflies in Your 1km Patch

Filed under: Butterflies — Tags: , , , , — Scott Shanks @ 11:12 pm

Do you currently record butterflies in your garden or around your neighbourhood? Perhaps you’ve fancied taking part in one of the branch butterfly surveys but the sites were all too far away or took up too much time with repeated visits? If so you might be interested in the ‘My Patch’ recording project which aims to discover more about the butterfly species in Your local area. It’s not hard work and gets you out of the house with a purpose. By doing a ‘patch’ it means you wander anywhere you can access within a 1kilometer square. Go out as often as you like, for as long as you like – just get out for a walk and simply jot down the date and what you see.

Painted Lady

Painted Lady

Your ‘patch’ can start right outside your front door if you like. Even by walking through housing areas, glancing in allotments, hedges, spare land, scrubby areas, river banks etc. you can usefully record areas which will otherwise be blanks on the County records map. Others might prefer to get in a car or on a bike and do a ‘patch’ a couple of miles away, you know, that bit you’ve always thought looks good but never quite got there to have a good look.

 

If you fancy the idea, and there really is not any more to it, get in touch with me and tell me the ‘patch’ you want to do or let me know where you are and I’ll suggest a ‘patch.’ I need to know before you start because somebody else might already be doing the bit where you are. Just use footpaths, roadside verges or areas with open access as we don’t want you being frog marched out of anywhere or having to run like the clappers with a bull halfway up your shirt tail! Go on, give ‘patches’ a go – adopt a 1km square as your own.

The scheme was launched last year in the Cumbrian branch area and Steve Doyle of the Cumbrian Branch reports great success, with many folk there wanting to do the next 1km square too! It’s always the same, when you get to the boundary of your square, the next bit looks interesting too!

You can either e-mail or post me your records at the end of each month or all together at the end of the year and I’ll pass them onto the correct Butterfly Recorder for your area and ensure that all your records get passed onto the National Butterfly database. There is a recording form that you can use to keep track of your records.

 

Scott Shanks

Flat 1/2 , 113 Haugh Road

Yorkhill

Glasgow

G3 8TX

07793052501

Scottshanks01@msn.com

 

Transect recording has been the key method of recording thus far and will continue in the future as it is a very valuable source of repetitive data from which trends emerge. We can use the information gathered from these trends to see how well butterflies are doing across the country and can also tell if management action needs to be taken at the transect site to protect the species there.

Some regard transects as rather formal however and are not so willing to commit to walking a transect once a week. Even so, despite formal transects and other valuable ad hoc records there were still a vast number of blank unrecorded or under-recorded squares (even in towns and cities) in south west Scotland. This is where the ‘Your Patch’ recording project can help.

If you already send in your casual/ ad hoc records from day trips and walks please continue to do so as you are contributing vital information for research into butterfly distribution.

The My Patch recording project will hopefully highlight areas in our cities, towns, villages and the countryside where butterflies are thriving, squares with lots of species or those with high numbers of a particular species. This information can be used by local councils managing our green spaces or community groups keen to encourage biodiversity or land owners keen to manage their land with wildlife in mind.

South West Scotland Butterfly ‘Patches’ – General Guidelines

  1. If your square covers an area where you feel threatened or in danger, don’t do it. Report back to me and we can agree a different one.
  2. No need to stick to the same route in your square every time. Go everywhere within it that you can. Your square is at most 1km long so it is not a long way from one side to the other.
  3. Best times of day to record are 10.00 until 16.00 but beyond that in a very warm spell and provided the weather is fine.
  4. Remember different species fly at different times of the year so visit regularly or at least once a month.
  5. Walk at a slow steady pace, lingering in likely places, watching for movement.
  6. Not all species fly at eye level or below. The Purple Hairstreak is very under-recorded in  South West Scotland. The Purple Hairstreak is undoubtedly more widespread, so in late afternoons in July and early August pause and look for movement at the top of oak trees. If you see ‘silver coins’ flitting around they are likely to be Purple Hairstreaks which rarely come to ground.
  7. If you have difficulty telling different species apart, let me know and I will get some help for you.
  8. Complete your form during your visit or immediately after. Don’t leave it too long.

 

My local patch is in the west end of Glasgow. Grid reference NS5665.

 

my 1km local Square

my 1km local Square

It’s not the greenest area with few gardens containing flowers, but it does include a great bit of rough grassland and wildflowers in Yorkhill Park (behind the children’s hospital) where I’ve seen 9 species! The most important thing is that I walk through parts of this square at least once a day. I’ll likely also do the square to the north of it NS5666 too, as I walk through this on the way to work almost every day (and it has a bit more green areas and potential habitat!).

 

 

 

 

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