Back up in Ayrshire this weekend, my main aim was to try and locate Azure Hawker in the county. Angus Hogg reckoned he saw one about two weeks ago in the extreme south of the county close to Dumfries & Galloway border and, in fact, not too far away from the well known site at Silver Flowe. Friday’s weather put paid to this idea with the vast quantities of rain falling inland, combined with thunder, lightening and even the odd tornado. The sun did appear in the Loch Doon area at either end of the day, providing 22 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries and 12 Large Skippers at one site in Bellsbank Plantation and 10 Large Heath amongst 40+ Small Heath on a bog site near Loch Bradan.
Saturday was much better, on the coast at least, and continuing evidence of the Painted Lady invasion suggests that this year may even top the all time biggest year of 1996. At least 49 were counted on the coast south of Ballantrae, without any systematic counting or coverage. More signs of the advanced spring were realised today with multiple sightings of new generation Small Tortoiseshell. I’ve never seen Small Torts emerge in June in Ayrshire – its usually mid to late July before they are expected. Currarie Port and Donald Bowie had at least 23 Grayling and 2 Dark Green Fritillaries and, unusually, a Large Heath which had probably wandered down Shallochwreck Burn from suitable habitat on Penderry Hill. Pinbain Burn didn’t disappoint with at least eight Northern Brown Argus, 23 Graylings, six Large Skippers, six Painted Ladies, as well as the odd Dark Green Frit, Ringlet, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Common Blue.
On Sunday it was back to rain around my intended sites. Only Barony Pit provided some butterflies with 67 Ringlets (they don’t mind light rain), 14 Meadow Browns and a few Grayling, Small Heath, Meadow Brown and Common Blue. Now that I’m bank in London, I’ve heard the weather is better.