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Butterfly Conservation- Glasgow & South West Scotland Branch

Newsletters - "On The Spot"

On the spot - Spring 2003

The newsletter of the Glasgow and South-West Scotland Branch of the British Butterfly Conservation Society

Dedicated to saving wild butterflies, moths and their habitats


This year sees the start of a new era for Butterfly Conservation in Scotland with the increase in staff and accommodation at the BC offices in Stirling, the opening of the first BC reserve in Scotland and the setting up of a Scottish Advisory Committee.

The additional staff at Stirling are giving BC the opportunity to raise the profile of BC with landowners and other conservation organisations as well as giving more support to the members. The butterfly and moth workshops will give enthusiasts guidance in monitoring and conservation techniques.

The opening of a reserve at Loch Arkaig in the Highland Branch area is hopefully the forerunner of other reserves in Scotland. The reserve is to be officially opened on the 2 June 2003 by Allan Wilson, MSP and deputy Environment Minister. This will be followed by a members open day on the 7 June 2003 when guided walks will hopefully find Chequered Skipper and Pearl-bordered Fritillary butterflies.

The mild winter followed by warm weather in early spring resulted in good numbers of Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterfly sightings.

David Welham

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth Survey

We are planning to undertake survey work on this fantastic day-flying species this coming spring. Our priority is to survey all sites with post 1990 records. In addition we would also like to survey sites with older records as well as visiting suitable new sites. This is a difficult species to survey as it is very active on warm days and flies very rapidly. Larval searches in England have proved to be largely unproductive. But one method that has worked is the taking of flowering sprigs of lilac into the field. This beautiful insect is attracted to this rich nectar source to feed.

The moth is a species of open meadows and moorland, where its larval foodplant, devils-bit scabious is found. When not being enticed to feed on lilac they visit Louseworts, Bugle and Bird's-foot Trefoil. Their habitat is therefore very similar to that of the Marsh Fritillary. We are therefore asking anyone visiting such areas from mid-May to June to take some lilac with them.

If anyone can help with this survey by visiting specific sites simply get in touch. We can provide, survey forms, a more detailed methodology and lots of enthusiasm. We would also be grateful to receive any of your sightings of the Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth from the coming or previous springs. This will help us to identify key sites and then approach landowners to encourage their continued sympathetic management to enhance the population of this magnificent yet under-recorded species.

For more information simply contact Tom Prescott

Visit to the Hunterian Museum (Zoology Insect Project)

On Sunday the first of December 2002 we made a visit to the zoology section of the above museum, which is part of Glasgow University. Six people attended for about two hours and all seemed to enjoy themselves (you can talk to them behind my back, but don’t tell me otherwise). Initially we talked about William Hunter and the educational relationship between the Museum and the teaching staff. Hopefully, I brought across that the Museum is really about research with 13 external research projects currently on the go, as well as student projects. What is “on show” is the tip of the iceberg, which is pitched at an average level.

The Museum has supported Butterfly Conservation with our work on the Argent and Sable Rheumaptera hastata. By examining the collection I came up with one previously unidentified location in our region for this moth. Also the Hunterian collection has been photographed to produce the A&S ID sheet, which will be issued to interested recorders next year. Granny Smith is not excused on this moth, as it is diurnal i.e. flies during the day.

I was glad to be able to show old style field collections; how specimens were labelled; explain type specimens by showing examples within the collection; talk about how the dragonfly collection had been managed over the summer; show a few of the house special insects and allow people free time to look at what they were interested in and ask me questions that I couldn’t answer (so what’s new). We would all like to thank the Museum and especially Maggie Reilly for the opportunity to visit as well as laying on tea and coffee for us which was a very nice indeed.

Graham Irvine


Members will wish to be aware that Butterfly Conservation has decided to set up a new Scottish Advisory Committee bringing together a representative of the 3 Scottish Branches, the BC staff in Stirling, and myself as the BC Council member based in Scotland to provide an overview of what BC is doing in Scotland.

It’s main aims, against the background of the growing level of BC activity in Scotland and political devolution, are to ensure good communications between the various parts of BC in Scotland, and to provide a Scottish focus which will be particularly helpful when publicising what is happening here and when dealing with the devolved Scottish Administration.

At the first meeting in Stirling on 5 March, which was also attended by Martin Warren, the terms of reference were approved, and I was elected chairman. There was then a review of current activity, particularly the opportunities offered by the Scottish Garden Show and the opening of the first Scottish reserve at Loch Arkaig this summer to raise the profile of BC in Scotland. It was agreed that some additional BC literature would be useful presented from a Scottish viewpoint, and also that meetings should be sought in the Autumn with SEERAD, SNH, and other environmental NGOs to brief them on developments and explore the scope for further joint action to help butterflies and moths.

The committee will meet again in the Autumn and twice a year thereafter. I believe this marks a step-change in Butterfly Conservation’s work in Scotland which will bring important presentational benefits to the society. If anyone has comments or points to raise on the work of the committee, please feed these in via your Branch chairman, or direct to me by e-mail

John Randall

Kindrogan Field Studies Centre

Last Year I was on the spring course for moths/butterflies and enjoyed myself so much that on 6th/10th July 2002 I booked the summer course on moths/butterflies at Kindrogan Field Centre which turned out to be wet but fruitful, it rained the whole weekend but cleared in the early afternoon so we were able to get out and look for moths. At the Centre we had six light traps all around the wooded area with a small battery operated one in the car park, which were all producing some large catches, with 15 Poplar Haws in one night and all different species in good numbers, over 560 moths and 26 micro moths. As the conditions were right for mothing, damp & drizzling, we were in for some good catches and not only moths, we had some good catches of butterflies as well. One in particular was the Northern Brown Argus with a total of Five in a small area not far from Kindrogan, at a place called Croft Ho NO6307/0363 should you want to go next year and find them. Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Small Heath, Ringlet, and a new insect species for my collection was a Bee Beetle the first seen by me and another tick!!

Our Tutor was Mr David Brown from England, David, a former school teacher and a very active Lepidopterist knows his Moths and during his thirty years as teacher and lecturer has made several visits to Perthshire looking for moths/butterflies and has a good knowledge of the places that are likely to hold moths. In the company there was ten of us, eight from over the border, a gentleman from Orkney who records the moths in Orkney, and myself. The areas that we visited were Ben Lawers :- Grey Mountain Carpet, Purple Bar, Small Argent and Sable. Kinloch Rannoch :- Common Lutestring, Mottled Beauty, Sweet Gale, Welsh Clearwing pupa shell. Struan :- Clouded Buff, Great Brocade, Silver-ground Carpet, Silvery Arches, Hebrew Character, Rannoch Brindled Beauty larva. Before I forget to tell you, I have booked for next year's course on the 15th July so watch this space.

Fred Westcott.

Early Spring Visitors

No one can have failed to notice the early spring sunshine and unseasonably warm weather that came at the end of March this year. It brought with it the extra bonus of early butterflies, do let us know what your first sightings were.

The very first butterfly of the season for us was a Small Tortoiseshell nectaring on Colt's-foot at Irvine Beach-park on the 16th of March. We ventured out to the same venue on 30th March and again saw a single Small Tortoiseshell, following this we visited Milngarholm Park in Irvine and saw another 4 Small Tortoiseshell butterflies. Next to appear was a Peacock at the Beach-park on the 6th April. Then both numbers and species increased, on the 12th of April we encountered 2 Peacock, 10 Small Tortoiseshell and one Large White at Milngarholm Park. On the same day we visited Auchincruive and saw 1 Small White 2 Peacock and one Green- veined White.

David and Anne Welham

Peacocks Make an Early Show in Dumbartonshire

The first butterfly we observed this year was a Peacock sunning itself in a Dumbarton garden on the 5th of April. The following weekend on the 12th April we found a further two peacocks on the upland footpath between Arrochar and Tarbet.

These are encouraging signs, as 2002 was a good year for Peacock butterflies in Dumbartonshire and hopefully the increase in numbers seen last year will continue in 2003. One of the Peacocks seen at Tarbet was resting on the footpath having become cold as a result of the sun going behind clouds, and it was incapable of flight. While we were watching it a walker came by with his dog. The butterfly had its wings closed for camouflage effect, but the dog spotted the butterfly and gave it a tentative, investigative sniff. The butterfly quickly opened its wings to reveal the colourful eye spots. The dog was surprised by this and retreated leaving the butterfly alone. A good demonstration that the eye spots can work to deter a potential predator.

The unseasonably warm days in April have also stirred other butterflies and our first garden butterflies were an Orange Tip and Green-veined White on the 18th April. Let's hope the good weather continues.

Keith and Susan Futter

Gardening Scotland 2003 - BC Scotland will be there!

Scotland's biggest garden show will be held at The Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston, Edinburgh 10am to 6pm Friday 30th and Saturday 31st May and 10am to 5pm Sunday 1st June. This is Scotland's premier gardening and outdoor living event, organised for the Royal Caledonian Horticultural Society and will be held in association with Macmillan Cancer Relief.

There will be over 400 exhibitors from the UK's top nurseries and garden centres in fifteen acres of the Royal Highland Centre. There will be inspiration for all gardeners from novice to expert. There will be demonstrations, debates and question and answer sessions with expert gardeners and growers throughout the UK including the BBC Scottish Beechgrove theatre. There are two covered halls with flowers, shrubs and a host of plants from Cacti to Clematis, with new varieties and plants for all locations

Enjoy the stunning full size show gardens and glean ideas from the patio gardens designed for those with limited space and limited budget. You will also find sculpture, books, planting equipment, buildings and contents from shears to sheds, garden furniture, containers, decking, ideas in metal, stone, wood and water, everything you need to create and enjoy your ideal garden.

For extra interest there is the Food Pantry with the finest produce from Scotland, and a Craft Fair showcasing the best from throughout the UK. A great day out for all the family!

Why then will BC Scotland be there? The answer to that is that our butterflies need us to campaign on their behalf to encourage gardeners to garden with butterflies in mind. Natural habitat for wild creatures has disappeared at an alarming rate, industrial and housing developments, roads and intensive farming have all taken their toll, devouring the woods and fields where butterflies once flew in peace and tranquillity.

It seems there is no stemming the tide of uncaring exploitation of natural resources. However butterfly friendly gardens will help our threatened butterflies survive. Most butterflies are unable to fly far without stopping to rest and feed on nectar to provide energy for the next stage of the journey. Good nectar rich gardens can act as life-saving stepping stones between natural habitats. Today every garden from a country estate to an inner city window box is a potential nature reserve.

What can one gardener achieve? I hear you ask, well contrary to popular belief that "there is not much one person can achieve" the opposite is true, it is just that the effects of a single person are not so immediately obvious. Nevertheless individual actions accumulate and, apparently unreachable goals, can be attained.

We need to plead with gardeners to be organic and avoid the use of harmful chemicals, and to use peat free products (peat extraction destroys the habitat of several butterfly species). We need to urge gardeners to provide a succession of nectar rich plants throughout the spring, summer and autumn, as refuelling stations for butterflies and moths. Aubretia, Crocus, Primrose, Grape Hyacinth for early spring, Pansies, Violas and Wallflowers for late spring. Candytuft, Lobelia, Alyssum, Buddleia, & Lavender for summer and early autumn followed by Ice plant, Michaelmas Daisy and Hebe to mention but a few. What a welcome sight a nectar rich garden is for an energy depleted butterfly.

We need to encourage gardeners if possible to create a wildflower border or bed to provide the correct habitat to encourage butterflies to breed in the garden. Caterpillar food plants such as Birds foot Trefoil for the Common Blue. Honesty, Sweet Rocket, Garlic Mustard and Lady's Smock for the Orange Tip. Sorrel for the Small Copper. Thistles for the Painted lady. Nasturtiums for the Large and Small Whites (a tastier alternate to the gardener's cabbage plants). Stinging Nettles for the Small Tortoiseshell, Peacock, Red Admiral and perhaps even a Comma.

Therefore we will have a lot of helpful hints & tips for wildlife friendly gardeners. We will also have many children's games, activities and gifts centred on butterflies Why? well it is essential to encourage the next generation to appreciate the beauty and charm of these fragile and magical insects that are as delightful as the flowers from which they sip the nectar.

BC Scotland will be at Gardening Scotland promoting the cause of saving our native butterflies and moths. Give us your support, visit our stand in the Caledonian Hall and enjoy a great day out at the show!

FREE PARKING - 24hr Ticket and Information Line 0906 701 2000

Gardening Scotland 2003

Anne Welham

Go Green - Recycle - Raise Cash for Butterfly Conservation

Butterfly Conservation has recently signed up to a recycling scheme with Reclaim-it, a company that collects empty laser toner cartridges and inkjet printer cartridges and pays us between 25p and £6 each (depending on type).

This excellent fundraising opportunity prevents empty cartridges being thrown away and being sent to landfill sites, and can help Butterfly Conservation raise some useful cash for its conservation work!

How does the scheme work?

  • The majority of inkjet and laser toner cartridges in use today have a value when empty and can be recycled. Please note that Epson inkjet cartridges and most re-manufactured cartridges are not eligible under this scheme and should not be returned.

    All you have to do to help BC is to start collecting empty cartridges! Why not ask your friends, relatives, colleagues and local businesses to give you their empty cartridges too?

    Free collection - Reclaim-it provide a free collection scheme. For small quantities of inkjet cartridges, I can supply reply paid envelopes for you to send your cartridges direct to Reclaim-it.

    For large quantities (30+ inkjet and 12+ laser toner cartridges) the cartridges should be parceled up for Reclaim-it to collect. They will send a courier round to you to pick up your parcel.

    For larger collection points, e.g. an office, Reclaim-it can provide a large collection bin which they will collect once full.

    In each case Butterfly Conservation will receive a cheque within 14 days for the cartridges you recycle.

    Do’s and Don’t’s

  • Do return your cartridges in the reply paid envelopes (which are pre-coded) or a coded collection bin so Reclaim-it will know to send Butterfly Conservation a cheque. If you are making up a parcel contact me first to get Butterfly Conservation’s reference number.
  • Do not return Epson inkjet cartridges or re-manufactured cartridges.
  • To get a supply of reply paid envelopes please send an A4 s.a.e. (19p stamp) to David Bridges, Butterfly Conservation, Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Dorset BH20 5QP. If you think you can place a large collection bin in a local office or would like more information about this scheme please email your address to me at butterfly.conservation@tesco.net or telephone me on 01403 256175.

    Many thanks

    David Bridges


    Hi Folks. The march of technology even catches up with the Ludites of the butterfly community. With the welcome increase of staff at Stirling, we are able to announce the birth of the "Butterfly Conservation Scotland E-newsletter" Compiled by Shona Greig every quarter. The contributions are mainly from the usual suspects but, cover the events of all of Scotland. The E-newsletter is free (if you ignore the £1000 for a PC). Contributions are proposed by the Editor of our own "On The Spot" newsletter Anne Welham, and the other newsletter editors. For the budding journalists amongst you articles can be sent to Anne via david.welham@btinternet.com. for either newsletter. If you wish to join the throngs of cool surfing butterfly E-bbes (perhaps a bit much) Please E-mail me at ga.irving@ntlworld.com to be added to the subscription list. As you will have worked out, your e-mail address will be kept on my computer, otherwise it won't work, but I have to tell you this anyway under DPA 1984.

    Graham Irving

    Get Involved! Be A Butterfly Guardian

    Julie Stoneman is the Volunteer Development Officer for BC Scotland. her main role is to recruit and train Volunteers and to co-ordinate their work conducting surveys and monitoring butterflies and moths.

    "Butterfly Guardians for Scotland" is a project designed to promote volunteer involvement and increase the knowledge of the distribution of butterflies and moths throughout Scotland. Thanks to a substantial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund Julie will be conducting a series of workshops dedicated to teaching skills of identification and recording.

    The workshops will be held over a period of two years in South and West Scotland. The workshop consists of an indoor session introducing the species' ecology, learning identification skills and monitoring techniques. Then a field visit follows to allow the volunteers to put their skills into practice observing the species in their habitat.

    So GET INVOLVED in butterfly or moth recording in your local area. This could range from a garden count or to a weekly habitat survey. No experience or previous knowledge is required, all you need is commitment to join in the monitoring work. Workshops are FREE and everyone is welcome (children under 16 must be accompanied).

    The 2003 programme is based in Argyll and Dumfries and Galloway. Workshops are as follows:-


    May 17 Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Glasdrum National Nature Reserve.

    June 14 Introduction to butterfly recording and identification, Taynish National Nature Reserve.

    June 21 Slender Scotch Burnet moth, The Burg, Isle of Mull.

    Aug 22/23 Introduction to moth trapping and identification, Kilmartin Glen.

    Sept 6 Marsh Fritillary, The Rhinns, Isle of Islay.

    Dumfries & Galloway

    May 10 Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Mabie Forest, Dumfries.

    July 5 Introduction to butterfly recording and identification, Mabie Forest.

    July 12 Northern Brown Argus, Port Patrick (Port Kale and Mora).

    Aug 1/2 Introduction to moth trapping and identification, Threave Gardens.

    Aug 30 Introduction to butterfly recording and identification, Rockcliffe

    Space is limited so booking is essential, contact Julie Stoneman at BC Scotland Balallan House, Allan Park, Stirling FK8 2QG Tel. 01786 447753. GO ON GET INVOLVED become a butterfly Guardian.

    A Welham.

    Sponsor the Chairman over 500km!

    In aid of the ‘Save Our Butterflies Appeal’

    To mark my retirement in September after 5 years as Chairman of Butterfly Conservation, I am walking a major long-distance trail (the GR5 path) over the French Alps this summer. I am seeking sponsorship for this - all of which will go to our ‘Save Our Butterflies Appeal’.

    The GR5 route is 500 km (as a crow might fly) from Nice on the Mediterranean to the Lake of Geneva over some of the best butterfly areas in Europe. It is gruelling 90% of the path is over 1000m (over 3000ft and higher than anything in England) and a good proportion is higher than 2000m with plenty of ups and downs.

    I have limbered up for this by completing (with Gail) the Offa’s Dyke Path (300 km, 180 miles, highest point 700m) in 12 days during that glorious weather in March-early April.

    I will be taking 4 weeks over this and back-packing all my gear - no transport support - and will be alone though I will be seeking fellow travellers to join me at various points. I will be taking photos throughout to confirm the completion of the walk and to record butterflies.

    If you would like to sponsor me on this walk please make a pledge on the enclosed sponsorship form, and, better still, sign up to make your donation under ‘Gift Aid’ so that the Society can raise even more for essential butterfly conservation projects.

    Please persuade other Butterfly Conservation members to sponsor me too as every penny raised will go to a tremendous cause!

    To simplify the collection of sponsorship money, please enclose a post dated cheque (for Monday 22 July 2003) for the amount you wish to sponsor me, made payable to ‘Butterfly Conservation’. Your cheque will be returned to you if I fail to complete the walk! Please send all sponsorship forms and cheques to: Butterfly Conservation, Manor Yard, East Lulworth, Dorset BH20 5QP. Thank you!

    A report of the outcome, successful or otherwise, will be included in the September edition of Butterfly.

    Stephen Jeffcoate

    April 2003

    Your sponsorship of Stephen’s walk will help fund the essential work carried out by Butterfly Conservation,

  • Providing advice to land owners and managers to ensure positive management of important sites.
  • Carrying out research into the conservation needs of butterflies and moths and identifying best practice for managing key habitat.
  • Recruiting, training and supporting active volunteers.
  • Promoting landscape scale conservation projects to ensure the needs of butterflies and moths are included.
  • Surveying and monitoring butterfly and moth populations.
  • Lobbying government to influence policy and canvass support for more and better agri-environment grant schemes
  • Raising awareness of the problems facing butterflies, moths and their habitats

  • Moth priorities for the next five years in Scotland:


    Argent and Sable Rheumaptera hastata 787

    Cousin German Paradiarsia sobrina 2116

    Dark Bordered Beauty Epione vesperteria (=parallelaria) 1908 #

    Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk Hemaris tityus 1982

    Slender Scotch Burnet Zygaena loti scotica 0167


    Barred Tooth-striped Trichopteryx polycommata 1880

    Lunar Yellow Underwing Noctua orbona 2108

    Netted Mountain Macaria (=Semiothisa) carbonaria 1895 #

    Northern Dart Xestia alpicola alpina 2125

    Square-spotted Clay Xestia rhomboidea 2131


    Sword Grass Xylena exsoleta 2242

    Forester Adscita statices 0163

    Welsh Clearwing Synanthedon scoliaeformis 0376

    Transparent Burnet Zygaena purpuralis 0172

    Rannoch Brindled beauty Lycia lapponaria 1929 #


    Belted Beauty Lycia zonaria 1928

    Broad-bordered White Underwing Anarta melanopa 2144 #

    Broom Tip Chesias rufata 1865

    Goat Cossus cossus 0162 #

    Grey Hadena caesia mananii 2174


    Grey Scalloped Bar Dyscia fagaria 1969

    Kentish Glory Endromis versicolora 1644 #

    Mountain Burnet/Scotch B Zygaena exulans 0166 #

    Northern Arches/Exile Apamea zeta assimilis 2324

    Slender-striped Rufous Coenocalpe lapidata 1780

    Small Dark Yellow Underwing Anarta cordigera 2143 #

    N.B. The critically endangered New Forest Burnet (Zygaena viciae) occurs in western Scotland at a confidential location.


    A Scottish priority species moth recording form is being approved by Wareham. (GAI, MP, DG)

    26 Phenology crib sheets to be produced by 2003 (GAI)

    26 Ecology and species action plans are to be produced over the next year (GAI.)

    26 Adults ID sheets and larval ID sheets to be produced if possible (All)

    Graham Irvine

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