07 August 2013

Loch Tinker

Yesterday we went for a walk to the remote Loch Tinker, high in the hills to the south of Loch Katrine. The aim was to look for plants, but we also found a number of interesting insects.

On the heather around the loch were large numbers of Vapourer Moth caterpillars. These must be one of the most exotic-looking among British caterpillars, with their bright colours and tufts of bristles.

In a boggy area crossed by streams, I noticed brightly coloured creatures skimming across the surface of the water. They were such a brilliant red that they looked like little lights.

It was only after looking at my photos later that I realised that these were ordinary pond skaters which were infested with tiny mites. As these were shiny, spherical and bright red, they were acting like little beads in a reflective surface, which gave the effect that they were alight.

We also saw a pair of fritillaries, probably Dark Green Fritillaries...

...but the most frequently seen butterfly was the Scotch Argus. These butterflies seem to have emerged in the last week and can be seen in large numbers on the lower slopes of the hills just now.