Borders Signtings - August 2019

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Borders Signtings - August 2019

Postby NickMorgan » Wed 21 Aug 2019 23:50

Last month I looked at a few locations in the Yarrow Valley for the Northern Brown Argus survey. One of the surveys I did was along Lewinshope Rig and the Lewinshope Burn. I was able to walk there from my house and I had met a lady who lived two miles up the valley. She said that there were loads of butterflies along there.
Although I was a little late in the season for many species, I remembered that I had seen an old record for Scotch Argus on the Lewinshope Burn, so I thought it worth a look. Sadly I didn't manage to find any Scotch Argus, but It was a beautiful walk and I saw over 200 Peacocks. Many of the other species were rather worn out such as a Meadow Brown, Dark Green Fritillary, Small Skippers and a few Painted Ladies. I saw about ten Small Tortoiseshells and a couple of Red Admirals, a few Commas and about 15 Small Whites.
I stopped at a pond and tried to photograph a female Common Hawker that was laying eggs amongst the submerged grasses. As my boots slowly sank below the water I was amazed to see an otter swim along the opposite bank. There were another three male Common Hawkers and as it flew off, I realise that there was another female resting on some grass that was touching my arm!
At the end of the valley I had a steep climb up to Lewinshope Rig. On the way up I walked right next to a young Adder that wasn't in any hurry to leave. There was also a rather worn Common Blue. Up along the side of the Rig there were Peacocks all along the track, despite the strong wind. On the more sheltered side of the hill there were a number of Painted Ladies, mostly looking as though they had flown a long way to get there!
Back down into the Hangingshaw Valley I saw faded Dark Green Fritillary, some very tatty Meadow Browns, more Commas, Small Coppers, Small Skippers, Small Heaths, Green-veined Whites and a whole load more Peacocks!
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Re: Borders Signtings - August 2019

Postby briart » Thu 22 Aug 2019 22:19

Sounds like a perfect day..
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Re: Borders Signtings - August 2019

Postby NickMorgan » Thu 05 Sep 2019 23:36

On 25th August I was in our garden in the Yarrow Valley, when I noticed a small, dark butterfly in the grass next to me. I dropped everything I was holding and ran down to the house for my glasses and camera. I was astonished to discover that it was a Scotch Argus. The previous weekend I had been looking for them in the Lewinshope Valley (where there are old records), which is the next valley up from our house. I am now at a loss as to whether this individual has flown over from there, if there is another colony somewhere, or if they have been living undiscovered in the grass close to our house. I think this is unlikely, as my father, who used to live there was a biologist and kept detailed records of the plants and animals he had seen there.
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I followed the Scotch Argus to try to get a picture of the upper side of the wings to ensure I wasn't mistaken with its identity. I was even more amazed to see it laying eggs. Now I won't be able to cut the grass there and I excitedly await for next summer to see if any of its offspring survive. I will also be checking the Lewinshope Valley again and any other likely areas to see if there is a colony close by.
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