2JUL11 Sgurr nan Gillian

2JUL11 Sgurr nan Gillian

I just blew in from a school mountaineering trip to the Isle of Skye, and I can tell you that the wildlife was brilliant. I saw two new British species for the year: the Large Heath and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary. The Large Heaths, patrons of bogland, were the most common butterfly on the island with a grand total of 7 individuals in the space of 4 good days. I managed a slightly distant photograph (below), but didn’t manage to snap the Small Pearl. It rested briefly with its dark underwing tips betraying its identity, before zipping away across the mountainside. It was accompanied by 3 Dark Green Fritillaries battling the breeze.

Also making appearances on the trip were a glut of common frogs, a toad, gold-ringed dragonflies, common shrews squeaking in the grass, an eagle (sea or golden), wheatears, serins, and a treble-bar moth.

So now my butterfly count is getting complicated. I’ve seen 30 species this year, in NI, Virginia and Scotland, with 4 species seen before 2011. Some species occur in more than one region which is why the numbers below don’t seem to add up – they have to be taken individually. The yellow numbers are for species seen in 2011; the /silver numbers show all species I can remember seeing in my lifetime.

  • 2011 BUTTERFLIES: 30/34

    • British Isles: 19/24

      • NI: 17/22

      • Scotland: 3/4

    • America: 12/12

I did say a while back that I’d do a write-up on my Yankee butterfly experience and I’m still intending to do that… once I sort out all my white-and-sulphur sightings scattered across Virginia!

UPDATE 01AUG11: Here’s that Large Heath photograph. Don’t think it’ll be a Wildpix candidate.

02JUL11 Large Heath