Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Wildlife Reports

Perhaps it was yesterday's calm weather which brought on a spate of unusual sightings, starting with Kilchoan Early Bird's massed ranks of sheerwaters off Sanna - see yesterday's post.  A strangely pink light suffused the sky for much of the morning, but by evening the overcast had cleared and the low sun picked out the colours of the creel boats in Kilchoan Bay - Emma-Maria on the left and Harvester on the right.

The first sighting was of orange-tip butterflies.  The last time the Diary saw an orange-tip was at least five years ago.  The Raptor sends these two pictures of a male which he chased all round Mingary for about ten minutes but it refused to land.  The Diary saw one in Ormsaigbeg but didn't have the Raptor's persistence.

The Raptor writes of this butterfly, "The orange-tip (only males have orange tips) seems never to land and was very difficult to get even these pictures of it. The male just wanders widely looking for a mate, and in turn she will lay her eggs individually on flowers.  As they are cannibalistic she can even detect if another female has laid her egg on a plant. Here in Scotland as a whole they are quite rare and are very localised; also, they are the first butterfly to emerge that has not overwintered - so a real sign that spring has sprung."

Coincidentally, the Diary caught this butterfly on one of the aubretia plants in the front garden, but it was only when Google was consulted that it appears it may have been a female orange-tip.

Meanwhile, Trevor Potts down the road in Ormsaigbeg had a localised infestation of yellow spiders and wants to know whether anyone has seen the like before.

While there are small yellow spiders on the internet identification sites, none seems to have the black spot on its rump.  Can anyone help with the identification?

At around eleven last night the weather changed suddenly and drastically: it began to rain, and has rained steadily ever since, so the rain gauge in our front garden showed 21mm by 8.00am this morning.  A wise hedgehog took refuge in Hughie's shed, bringing with it a packet of crisps with which to while away time until the weather improves.

Many thanks to the Raptor, Trevor Potts and Hughie for the pictures.
Trevor Potts runs the Ardnamurchan campsite.


  1. Probably the European garden spider Araneus diadematus, though hard to tell at this age.

  2. British Arachnological Society website would suggest they are baby garden spiders..Araneus diadematus.

  3. Hi - I have encountered two similar nests of baby spiders in the last week in deepest Warwickshire, one on the door mirror of my son's Fiat Panda another on our rabbit hutch.