Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Home once more ( but we will haste us back before long)

Yippee, we're back home at last. But no trapping last night as the first rain which Penny and I had encountered for ten days was dripping quietly down on Oxfordshire.  That gives me a breathing space to revise the butterflies and moths encountered on our lovely, sunny spell in Scotland. Some of the pics are 'proper' versions of my gimcrack efforts at combining the camera playback screen with the wobbly iPad while away; the others are insects which I've not shown in my on-safari posts.

The one at the top is in the latter category, an Antler moth nectaring on the blaze of sunny glory which is ragwort, one of my favourite wildflowers even if it is in theory a notifiable weed. We didn't ring up Perth police to report its presence up by the radio masts above the motorway. I think they already know.

Next come some Browns, variously photographed on Colonsay at near Lairg in Sutherland, which interest me. I think the bottom three are Meadow Browns, but is the first tone, with the double spots on the forewings, a Scotch Argus?  I hope so, as this is a butterfly which I have not previously, knowingly seen.

Next, I was pleased to find myself among a busy colony of Wall butterflies which were very loyal to a beautiful patch of grassy meadow behind the sand dunes on the south east coast of Colonsay, overlooking the junior islet of Oronsay and the famous Paps of Jura, suggestive peaks which rise much higher than any of the other local island terrain.

I wrongly thought that I had found a Wall butterfly in our garden last month, when I was compiling my 20-strong list of common local species. I corrected myself after reading of the Wall's preference for coastal areas. Colonsay exactly fits its bill.  Now for some Common Blues, a butterfly which perhaps deserves a grander name. Common or not, they are lovely creatures, flying version of the harebells which also throng Colonsay's coasts. The pictures below show two males and a female, the latter with darker colouring but still a beautiful dusting around her body of the trademark vivid blue.

On an early walk to a beach, I spotted a very raggedy Common Blue - the first of our holiday and so I took a picture. I'm glad that i did because on the return journey, there it was again, further proof of the way that many individual butterflies stick to their 'patch', behaviour less common in moths.

On the way out...
...and on the way back.
Two more species added to my tally: the Green-veined White in a very Scottish setting below, followed by that little jewel, a Small Copper:

And finally for today, a moth which I mentioned in a holiday post but did not show: a Buff Ermine found dead in our cottage. A lovely moth, even when life has left it.

Overwings (plus my lovely palm fingers and fate lines)

Underwings, in a more austere setting

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