Our Ospreys are very settled and seem to be following the normal course of behavior for an osprey couple- mating, nest renovations, and fishing as if they had been together for years. Whilst we wait to see if we will be lucky enough to have eggs laid by the pair ( which can happen in as little as 7 days after mating, but more often 9 or 10 days later) or indeed if the previous male Green 7Y turns up ( there is still plenty of time yet) we thought we’d share some other wildlife news with you.
Have you seen a Comma in Scotland?
On top of all the exciting osprey news this week there has been many interesting wildlife sightings around the reserve. Whilst walking the path from Lowes to Dunkeld last weekend I was surprised to see a Comma butterfly basking in the sun:
Comma’s became extinct in Scotland in 1870 and until recently were only found in the south of the UK. Their range is now increasing northwards at a rate of 12-15km each year, possibly due to changing environmental conditions. Butterfly Conservation Scotland are tracking this shift and need help to map its distribution. If you see one of these butterflies in Scotlandyou can submit a sightings form online http://www.butterfly-conservation.org or by post.
When resting with wings closed, ragged edged wings and dark coloured undersides allow these butterflies to fool predators by resembling a dead leaf. A pale comma shaped mark on the underside of the wing gives the species its name and helps with identification.
Commas hibernate throughout winter, often in houses or sheds and emerge at this time of year. Eggs are laid from May onwards and hatch a few weeks later. Comma caterpillars have a distinctive white marking on their back – useful camouflage as they closely resemble a bird dropping!!
Laura Cunningham – Volunteer Species Protection Officer