Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 29 May 2012 Loch Charn

From SNHG forum:

Comment by Carl Farmer on May 21, 2012 at 21:04

May Midweek Field Trip

Hi all,

This month's midweek recording walk will be at Loch Charn near Kilninver, on Tue 29 May.  Meet at the car park at the south end of Loch Seil (NM80051996) at 10 a.m, from where we will drive in fewer cars to the starting point.

This is a repeat of our visit to Loch Charn in May 2009, which everyone seemed to enjoy, and which included a Pearl-bordered Fritillary, though conditions were too dull for dragonflies.  I went back by myself in early Jun 2010 to look for more PBF's, and didn't see any but did see Marsh Fritillary and Hairy Dragonfly.  So if conditions are good there is a chance of seeing all three of these rare and attractive species, and getting a better idea of their distribution in the area.

At present the forecast is for warm sunny weather on the 29th, though it's not reliable that far ahead, but if it is correct it should be a grand day for colourful dragonflies, butterflies and day-flying moths, which will all have had a week of warm weather to emerge and catch up and behave like summer is on the way.

Please wear stout waterproof footwear and bring a packed lunch.  Cameras at the ready to snap away at any possible PBF's as it's often only possible to tell them from Small PBF's when you have a photo.  The differences are shown on about 3/4 way down the page.

Green Hairstreaks were out and about today, and we may well see these on the midweek walk.

Looking forward to seeing everyone,



Boloria selene

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.  Several of these about.  We managed to photograph 3, which all turned out to be Small Pearl-bordered rather than the rarer Pearl-bordered which we were hoping to see.  If it had been as hot and sunny as the previous day they'd probably have been too active to photograph at all.

Boloria selene, underside

This is the best shot I got of the underside, which has a number of "pearls" away from the rear edge (only 2 in Pearl-bordered) and also has dark edges to the rear edge pearls, another sign of Small Pearl-bordered.

Euphydryas aurinia

This Marsh Fritillary was right at our feet while we were standing talking. It was some time before I noticed it. Even then I didn't notice the white Lousewort flower which appears at the top of the photo.

Ematurga atomaria

Common Heath moths were quite plentiful.  I assumed this one was alive, but looking at the photo it may have perished in a spider's web.  They don't usually rest with wings closed.

Deltote uncula

Silver Hook moth.  We saw two of these, the first spotted by Alan and then this one by Sallie.

  Crambus perlella

Satin Grass-veneer (Crambus perlella).  First grass moth I've seen this year.

Saturnia pavonia, young larvae

Recently emerged young Emperor Moth caterpillars found by Alan on a Meadowsweet leaf. They will be very colourful later on.

  Carex paniculata

Greater Tussock Sedge, spotted by Sallie, in the foreground of a pic which shows the terrain and the rather dull conditions, which were livened up by very fleeting bursts of sunshine.


Mystery leaves

Mystery leaves.  Asked what these were I guessed Knapweed.  This was received somewhat sceptically.  Any other offers?

Ischnura elegans, male

Male Blue-tailed Damselfly at rest on dead reed, Loch Charn

Enallagma cyathigerum, male

Male Common Blue Damselfly at rest on grass stem in the heather near the loch.  The "tree" mark on the second abdominal segment is one of the key characters of the Common Blue, as is the way segments 8 & 9 are completely blue.  This tends to be a very slightly paler and yellower blue than the rest of the insect.

Libellula quadrimaculata, exuvia

Four-spotted Chaser exuvia - possibly the former property of one of the adults we saw chasing each other over the loch.

Omocestus viridulus, immature

Omocestus viridulus, the Common Green Grasshopper, pink immature stage, found by Sallie, who probably has a better photo of it than this one.

  Lochmaea caprea

Lochmaea caprea, the Willow Leaf Beetle, equally common on Birch, as here.

Comment by Carl Farmer on May 30, 2012 at 17:11  

Re:SNHG Field Trip to Loch Charn -Tuesday 29th May 2012 :

Hi all, have uploaded some pics from yesterday's midweek walk to Loch Charn.  The conditions were much cooler and duller than of late, meaning we could not expect to see so many butterflies and dragonflies but those we did see might be easier to examine and photograph.

Butterflies seen were:

  • Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary - 3 definite due to examining photos, and some others flew past which were probably this species as well
  • Small Heath - numerous
  • Marsh Fritillary - 1 seen
  • Green-veined White - a few about


  • Brown Silver-line - very numerous
  • Common Heath - plentiful
  • Silver Hook - 2 seen
  • Satin Grass-veneer - 1 seen
  • Micropterix calthella - tiny micro-moth numerous on Buttercup flowers
  • Emperor Moth - 2 very young larvae found by Alan

Dragons and damsels:

  • Hairy Dragonfly - repeatedly darting through the reeds, possibly the same individual each time as never more than one seen together.  Would not rest so no photo - have never yet got a photo of this species.
  • Four-spotted Chaser - At least 2 seen, chasing each other over the loch.  Also an exuvia found.
  • Golden-ringed Dragonfly - One seen
  • Large Red Damselfly - 2 or 3 seen
  • Common Blue Damselfly - several about
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly - 1 or 2 seen

Thanks to all who took part.  It was a successful day with two of our three target species found.  Next midweek walk is Tue 26 June, venue tba.


Fri 1 Jun 2012 Ganavan Beag

Anthus pratensis with food for young

Meadow Pipit on Bog Myrtle with a beak full of food.  It stood there for some minutes, constantly looking around in all directions, before eventually flying off.  I don't know the purpose of this delay.  Checking for predators?  I didn't notice any myself.

Sterna paradisaea

Arctic Tern.  Both these and Common Terns nest in the area.

Sun 3 Jun 2012 Kilmelford

Enallagma cyathigerum caught by Drosera rotundifolia

A Common Blue Damselfly that came to a sticky end.

Phyllopertha horticola,all-black variant

A variant of the Garden Chafer, Phyllopertha horticola, with black wing-cases instead of the normal chestnut colour.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer