Ayrshire sightings May/June

Post your reports and photographs of butterflies seen in South West Scotland

Ayrshire sightings May/June

Postby scottshanks01 » Wed Jun 01, 2011 12:28 am

After John Candlish's success in finding Dingy Skippers near Rankinston, I thought I'd head down the Ayrshire coast to see if I could find any at some of the coastal sites where they've been seen before
The first stop was at Ardwell Bay (NX153935), just south of Girvan. All the vegetation on the shore looked pretty poor, with most of the bird's foot trefoil shrivelled and brown. Maybe salt-damage to do with the high winds last week? The only butterfly on the shore side of the road was a Small Heath, but 8 Wall and a couple of silver-ground carpet were active on the rocky slopes on the other side of the road.Image
Female Wall by scottshanks01, on Flickr

Next Stop was Pinbain burn/hill. The rockrose, bloody cranesbill and bird's foot trefoil were looking spectacular, but again no Dingy Skippers. The slopes closest to the road had 11 Wall (11), 2 Small Copper, 3 Small Heath, a single Green-Veined White and the highlight of the day: 4 (or 5) fresh Northern brown argus. Some Yellow Shell moths too.
Image
Northern Brown Argus by scottshanks01, on Flickr
Image
northern Brown Argus on grass stem by scottshanks01, on Flickr
I followed the burn for about 500m as it cuts into the hills. Small heath (18) and Wall (14) were abundant, with a single Northern Brown Argus and a Large White in a sheltered gully. I then doubled back to meet the Ayrshire Coastal path that runs from pinbain back towards Ardwell bay and walked along for about 1km before the sun went behind a cloud . Small Heath were everywhere along this path (at least 21) along with a couple more Wall.

Next stop was the cove containing the legendary cannibal Sawney Bean's cave. Again no Dingys. The sun had vanished behind thick clouds by the time I worked my way down the steep slopes, so only 2 Small heath seen.

The final stop was Bennane head. The wind had picked up and there was more cloud than sunshine, so again, not many butterflies seen (4 Wall and 4 Small Heath).
I noticed in 2010 that bird's foot trefoil had almost vanished from this site (possibly due to the huge number of 6-spot burnets there during 2009?), despite this, I did manage to see dingy skippers here last year. The BFT still hasn't recovered, although kidney vetch is everywhere, so it would make a great potential reintroduction site for Small Blues!
Scott
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Re: Ayrshire sightings May/June

Postby John Candlish » Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:02 pm

I saw my first Grayling of the year this morning on Polquhairn Bing, near Sinclairston, Ayrshire (NS4715) and this is my earliest ever record of this species, this location has proven to be a good place to see decent numbers of Graylings during the past few years so hopefully this is the start of an excellent year for them.

Later in the afternoon I visited the former location of Littlemill Colliery, near Rankinston, Ayrshire (NS4414) where I have found very good numbers of Dingy Skippers during the past few weeks and despite numbers having decreased slightly since the start of the month I still managed to find 7 individuals but the find of the day was definitely finding my first Large Skipper of the year very close to where a few of the Dingy Skippers have been seen (NS443144), this is my first ever sighting of this species in this area although I have found them in small numbers just a few miles away near Dalmellington in previous years.
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