Chequered Skipper seen in Mingarry
The chequered skipper butterfly has it's UK stronghold around Lochaber and North Argyll, being extinct from England and Wales and absent in other parts of Scotland. We had recently been on one of the Spring Butterfly events held by Friends of Nevis and The Highland branch of The Butterfly Conservation Society and were fascinated to learn about this bonnie little butterfly and it's love for purple moor grass, bugle and bluebells.
Butterfly Conservation has recently produced a model predicting the occurrence of the chequered skipper on the West Coast in various 1km grid squares. One such grid square is located near Dalilea at NM6972. In fact, the Dalilea grid square is the 10th most likely grid square in their model predicted to support chequered skipper. Accordingly, one fine day, we headed over to Dalilea low road to seek out this elusive bonnie beauty. We spent an hour searching for the butterfly over the whole square focusing our attention on areas with the best habitat. Alas, no luck on that occasion.
Slightly disappointed, we headed off home to do some gardening, one of the never ending tasks in Spring in the West Highlands. Imagine our surprise when we spotted a small yellow and brown butterfly flitting amongst the buttercups in our garden. On closer examination, to our delight, this turned out to be the elusive chequered skipper; the Mingarry chequered skipper...