Today I fancied stopping on the route home to enjoy the view and sunshine, as I pulled into an old quarry parking space above Loch na Keal a bright blue butterfly caught my eye and I was engrossed for an hour, metres from the road, but completely enthralled by the busy array of insect life on the verge and hillside. Two male common blue butterflies were regularly disputing their patches and only occasionally settling down among the wildflowers. Wild thyme, fragrant orchids and birds-foot trefoil meant the land was a riot of colour, the latter is an important food plant for the common blue.
Common blue on trefoil
Common blue male
In the same area, but higher up the hill larger orange and black butterflies were rampaging above the bracken, rarely landing. They were large though and I guessed at dark-green fritillary. I stalked the butterflies as best I could to catch a few ID shots and confirm my thoughts, but they never settled for long.
Meadow brown was also spotted, along with another smaller fritillary – this one didn’t settle once in my view so I can’t say for sure, but it’s most likely to be small-pearl bordered fritillary. Dragonflies were also on the wing and I enjoyed my first golden-ringed of the year. Grasshoppers were in full flow, the ground almost vibrated with their sounds and bees were enjoying the nearby foxgloves.
I’ll submit all of my butterfly records to my local recorder, as I do for my moth trapping records and this all helps inform conservation of the species. Surprisingly Mull is extremely under-recorded for many species, excepting eagles and otters, so do send in records to the appropriate conservation body.
On Monday I stopped to take a snap of these amazing foxgloves on my drive home from work. The road verges are looking brilliant at the moment although Argyll and Bute council are doing their best to keep the wildlife to a minimum by strimming and clearing huge areas, with no apparent relation to road visibility. Not to mention some locals who mow “their”road verge as well as their garden.
Despite this though, many of the roadsides are thriving and you can clearly see the abundance of wildlife making the most of it. Yesterday I saw fledgling goldfinch feeding on flower heads and the foxgloves were vibrating with insect life.
The nature gods are blessing the Isle of Mull with incredible weather at the moment so every chance we get throughout the workday we’re outside, soaking up the blue skies and sunshine rays. Today, instead of heading straight home and getting irate at our busy seasonal roads, I took a wild break to read and enjoy the stunning place I call home.
My drive to work is amazing, with the very scenic Loch na Keal making up around 7 miles of the 19 mile journey. I pulled off the road to read my current natural history book out in the fresh air, surrounded by bird song and sparkling water.
I also wandered in bare feet over the warm, volcanic rocky shore line and cooled my feet in the crystal clear seawater. Numerous small crabs scuttled near my bare toes and I marvelled at the colours of the periwinkles. From the photo you wouldn’t even know I was in the water!