Monday, July 24, 2006

Scotch Argus at Changue

This weekend I was back in Ayrshire looking for the last two butterfly species of the season to emerge – Purple Hairstreak and Scotch Argus. Kirstie’s Trail through the glen at Changue, near Barr, provided Crossbill, Redpoll, Raven and Buzzard while searching for Scotch Argus. Just five freshly emerged individuals were found. In a week or two there may be hundreds flying in the area. The Fairy Knowe Trail is closed at the moment so we were not able to look for Black Darters along there but Kirstie’s Trail had at least 16 Common Hawkers and two Gold-ringed Dragonflies. Ringlets were fairly abundant along with fewer numbers of Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Green-veined White, Large Skipper, Sexton Beetle, and a Giant Wood Wasp.

Pinbain Burn in the Lendalfoot Hills offered 40+ Graylings and at least one Northern Brown Argus was still flying.

Down in Currarie Glen, conditions were less than ideal for observing Purple Hairstreaks (hot sun and no wind!). Scanning the low, scrubby oaks on the steep hillside of Shallochwreck Burn found no perched hairstreaks in the fairly strong wind. Then, during a brief period of direct sunlight, I watched with the naked eye for some to fly and almost immediately one zipped down hill and landed on the nearest oak, allowing nice views through the optics. A walk down to Currarie Port and around Donald Bowie resulted in 62 Graylings, two Painted Ladies, a single Dark Green Fritillary and a number of Green Tiger Beetles.

Back home on the edge of Kilmarnock, an Oystercatcher flew over the busy Irvine Road to Annandale Golf Course. Hanging from it’s bill was a long worm. This bird was nesting in the area last year as almost the same sight greeted me while driving in the opposite direction, almost a year to the date. Back in the garden, froglets have emerged from the water. For more photographs of these, have a look at my other (wordless) blog:

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