Two butterfly species have been recorded at the Trust’s Cullaloe Wildlife Reserve in Fife for the first time.
Two wall brown butterflies were recorded this summer by volunteers Lesley Gordon and George Lees, who monitor a transect on the reserve on behalf of Butterfly Conservation. And a number of speckled wood butterflies were spotted by chance by Reserve Convenor Grahame Boath on a recent visit.
The wall brown butterfly is a coastal species found in hot, sunny spaces including open grasslands and gardens. Its name comes from often being regularly spotted resting on walls. The speckled wood is a woodland butterfly that feeds on honeydew in the treetops.
Reserve Convenor Grahame Boath said: “These are exciting new arrivals to the reserve. Five years ago it would be unlikely to see a speckled wood butterfly in Fife but this species has gradually been extending its range up the east coast of Scotland and is now working its way inland to sites such as Cullaloe.
“The wall brown is another recent arrival. Sadly this species is increasingly rare in Britain. It has been lost from many inland areas of England due to the changing climate, but we’re hopeful it has found a safe haven at Cullaloe.
“The varied habitat at Cullaloe Wildlife Reserve provides fantastic conditions for a huge range of butterflies. In addition to these new arrivals fifteen other species are regularly spotted here. It is also a key site for moths including the lunar hornet, which breeds on the reserve.”
Reserves Manager for East Central Scotland Tracy Lambert said: “It’s great to be able to add two new species to the list of wildlife found at Cullaloe. Information from surveys and one-off sightings help us to see how our management of the reserve is benefiting local wildlife.”
“I’m grateful to the volunteers who donate their time to help us look after valuable habitat, and thankful to the citizen scientists who provide us with regular and useful information about the amazing range of butterflies found on the reserve.”
Cullaloe Wildlife Reserve is two miles north of Aberdour. It features a mosaic of scrub, meadow and wetland habitats. It is designated as a Local Nature Reserve as well as being part of a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Recently Trust staff and volunteers spent four days at Cullaloe cutting and raking the reserve’s wildflower meadows. This work ensures that the reserve’s healthy meadows provide good quality habitat for a wide range of wildlife, including butterflies and other pollinators.