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Mountain Ringlet Surveys 2011

PostPosted: Thu Jun 30, 2011 1:01 pm
by andrewmasterman
I saw my first Mountain Ringlet butterfly of the year at Ben Lawers on Tuesday 28 June 2011 so they will soon be out in numbers on the Scottish mountains where this butterfly occurs.

This butterfly is significantly under-recorded in Scotland so it would be great if anyone who is going to be on holiday in the Scottish highlands during July could look out for Mountain Ringlet whilst mountain walking. Late June to July is the flight period of Mountain Ringlet.

The Mountain Ringlet (Erebia epiphron) is a rare UK butterfly being confined to montane habitat between 350 & 900 m in the central highlands from Ben Lomond in the south to Creag Meagaidh /Glen Roy in the north and from Glasdrum/Glencoe, Argyll in the west to Schiehallion in central Perthshire in the east with two known colonies further east in the Cairngorms National Park: Glen Doll & Glen Feshie. This distribution amounts to just 52 10 km squares in Scotland which makes it much rarer than the iconic birds of the Scottish mountains such as the Ptarmigan & the Golden Eagle.

You can read about Mountain Ringlet surveys and learn about its distinctive habitat - herb-rich Nardus grassland on the following link:

http://www.southwestscotland-butterflie ... 2010.shtml

Re: Mountain Ringlet Surveys 2011

PostPosted: Wed Jul 06, 2011 10:47 am
by andrewmasterman
Mountain Ringlet are on the wing. I have searched for them in 40 different 1 km squares so far but partly due to poor weather with the sun coming and going and the fact that Mountain Ringlet may not be present in all of them, I have only found them in 13 different 1 km squares.

I found 42 Mountain Ringlet in square NN6039 above the reservoir at Ben Lawers where Mountain Ringlet is known to be numerous and 11 on the SW flanks of Stuc an Lochain NN4744, west Glen Lyon. In this latter square, I also came across a number of Black Mountain Moth together with Mountain Ringlet which is a potential source of confusion. Black Mountain Moth are half the size and not as dark as newly emerged Mountain Ringlet which look black but their habitat on the higher slopes of some mountains does overlap to some extent. Mountain Ringlet is generally found on grassy south-facing slopes where there is very little Crowberry which is the foodplant of Black Mountain moth but Crowberry is very abundant on the tops of mountains between 600 and 900 m where you don't generally find Mountain Ringlet. 2011 is a very good year for Black Mountain moth so if you haven't seen it, now is a good time to head off into the mountains to see it and hopefully you will find some Mountain Ringlet on your way up too.

In nine of the 13 1 km squares where I found Mountain Ringlet, I only found one or two. On some mountains, it does seem to occur at low density but on others such as Ben Lawers and Beinn Chaorach at Tyndrum where long-term sheep grazing has resulted in extensive and lush Mat-grass swards, large numbers of Mountain Ringlet may be found and you can encounter 100 or more in a 1 km square.

Total Mountain Ringlet recorded so far is 82! But five of the 13 1 km squares were new for Mountain Ringlet which shows that Mountain Ringlet is still under-recorded in Scotland so more survey work is required. So please get out into the mountains to look for Mountain Ringlet if you can:

http://www.southwestscotland-butterflie ... 2010.shtml

Re: Mountain Ringlet Surveys 2011

PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2011 11:42 am
by andrewmasterman
Much better weather Wednesday & Thursday this week meant sunny mornings and loads of Mountain Ringlet although cloudy skies in the afternoon meant they disappeared later in the day.

Maximum total for a 1 km square was 77 in NN3532 on Beinn Chaorach at Tyndrum on Wednesday, a very accessible hill if you want to see Mountain Ringlet.

A total of 161 were counted on Thursday at Sgiath Chuil in Glen Dochart across seven different 1 km squares all of which were new squares for Mountain Ringlet.

The west facing slopes of Beinn Dorain and Beinn a Dothaidh were visited on 11 July and loads of high quality Mountain Ringlet habitat was found on the higher steeper slopes but no Mountain Ringlet were seen owing to a lack of sunshine and cold temperatures. This is an easily accessible area at Bridge of Orchy if someone would like to visit over the next ten days. The south facing slopes of Beinn Udlaidh just west of Tyndrum also have loads of habitat but only one Mountain Ringlet was seen there in poor weather on 10 July. A visit there in sunny weather will likely yield loads of Mountain Ringlet.

A total of 413 Mountain Ringlet seen so far with 17 new 1 km squares.

If you haven't seen Mountain Ringlet, now is the time to get out there on a sunny day in the next ten days and you might see it in large numbers.

http://www.southwestscotland-butterflie ... 2010.shtml