This beautiful little butterfly is found extensively across England and Wales but there is only the odd record in Scotland. Most of those are from East Lothian, although they have been recorded in Fife and the Scottish Borders.
I was always aware of a colony on the western edge of East Lothian, but when I checked out Butterfly Conservation’s records for the area, I only found one record from 2013, although I know they had been seen there for many years before that. It just shows the importance of making sure that sightings of any butterflies are sent to the local recorder. Sadly, following a series of cold winters that colony appeared to die out.
For the last ten years, though, there have been single sightings each year from an area around three villages in the north of East Lothian. These have all been from Dirleton, North Berwick and Gullane and I suspect that there is a large private garden somewhere in that area containing Holly and Ivy where a colony of Holly Blues has secretly been living. Those individuals that were seen could all have flown from that one colony.
Despite the efforts of a few of us, we have never found where that colony may have been.
In 2011 there was great excitement, as three Holly Blues were seen on the outskirts of Aberlady. However, despite careful checking of the area since, they were not seen there again.