The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Borders Butterflies

Last week a friend and I went down to the Scottish Borders to have a look for butterflies. There were three sites that we intended to visit. Unfortunately the first area where we were hoping to see Large Skippers drew a blank. I think we were just a little too early in the season.
Next we drove down to the coast, just north of the English Border. Here there is a rocky scree where there is a colony of Small Blues, Cupido minimus. These are the UK's smallest butterfly and they are a real pleasure to see. Despite them being rare, if you know where to look they are easy to find.

Almost as soon as we arrived we spotted our first Small Blue and while we were there we estimate we saw about 40 individuals.

There were also a lot of Small Heaths, Coenonympha pamphilus, flying in the area.

There were also one or two Wall Browns, Lasiommata megera, flying, although they wouldn't let me get very close!

We noted that the number of other butterflies was down on previous visits. This has been the case all over this part of Scotland after a cold spring.
Next we headed only a mile or so up the coast where there is a good colony of Northern Brown Argus, Aricia artaxerxes, on a steep slope above some cottages.

I hadn't been to this site before, but I was delighted to see so many Northern Brown Argus at the side of a steep track on some Valarian plants. The hillside above here was covered in their caterpillar foodplant, Rockrose, Helianthemum nummularium.

We also saw my first Common Blue, Polyommatus icarus, of the year.

Despite the poor weather and low numbers of butterflies I have been very lucky so far with the butterflies I have seen.