I think we'd slightly misjudged the weather today when we headed off to the Aberdeenshire Cairngorms for a long hike and picnic. Wall to wall sunshine, which we'd expected but at 27C the going was tough considering most of our walk was on open moorland, not the best of planning. Still, we persevered (someone has to do it) and enjoyed a wonderful day mostly in the company of Scotch Argus butterflies.
|My best effort today finding a Scotch Argus with its wings actually open!
As its name suggests, this butterfly is found predominantly in Scotland where it flies in tall, damp grassland. In the sunshine, males fly almost without rest, weaving low through the grass in search of a mate. We can vouch for this as we spent most of our time trying to photograph them. I'm told they do actually perch on grass clumps in poorer weather, flying out to investigate any passing brown butterflies.
|Northern Brown Argus ~ Beginning to look quite worn now.
There we're other species on the wing too today with a few Northern Brown Argus, looking quite worn now, lots of Small Heath (still can't find a Large Heath despite being associated with the area), Common Blue, Ringlet, Green-veined White and the odd Small Tortoiseshell.
|Golden-ringed Dragonfly ~ One of my favourites!
As you'd expect plenty of Odonata about too with Common Hawker, another species I'm struggling to find perched, Black Darter and fast becoming one of my all time favourites Golden-ringed Dragonfly.
|Beware of the Horse Fly
By the way, I should mention Horse Flies or Clegs! According to the Royal Pharmaceutical Society in Scotland, more people are being bitten by horseflies up here due to the long spell of warm weather. We can confirm this, the ones we encountered today don't just pierce the skin these buggars dig a hole in you!