Bird's Eye View of Bute

Peacock Butterfly

Peacock (1)
Peacock (1)
Peacock (2)
Peacock (2)
Peacock (3)
Peacock (3)
Peacock (4)
Peacock (4)
Peacock (5)
Peacock (5)
Peacock (6)
Peacock (6)
Peacock (7)
Peacock (7)
Peacock (8)
Peacock (8)
(9) Underwing 2013
(9) Underwing 2013
(10) Top 2013
(10) Top 2013

 

Peacock Butterfly


The good weather that we have enjoyed this year, (2003) has also been good for Butterflies. Everywhere I went I was amazed how many, and different species that I counted. As usual, I had my camera to hand and set about trying to capture as many as I could on film.



This time I was quite pleased with the results. I got a lovely shot of  the‘Peacock’variety , which is the one in my photo.  The main colour of the Peacock is Maroon, with the under wings being a smoky brown, a truly lovely one to see, but the topside of them is really amazing, with a pattern that resembles two pairs of eyes, this may be used to deter would be predators by giving them the impression that they are bigger and dangerous. I do not know if it works, but top marks for trying, at least they give us a good splash of colour to brighten up the day.
 If it is not bright, then you may see very little of them or none at all, as they do like the sunshine   One of my favourite areas to see lots of butterflies, is over the Scoulag Moor and head to the Mountstuart reservoir, which is just about five hundred metres from the New Farm,  and Lord Jame’s Ride junction. Or if you have transport, you can park at the Kingarth War  Memorial , and it is only about three hundred metres from  there and you don’t need tough shoes as there is a good track. Or if you take the Kilchattan Bay bus, ask to be let off at the Bruchag junction, then walk a few metres back down the road and you  will come to an Iron gate, this is a pedestrian access and will take you direct to the reservoir , there you will see a vast amount of Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Ladies, Large Whites and a host of other smaller ones that I don’t know what they are yet, but they all seem to be feeding on a thistle like plant like the Knapweed family. If you stand amongst the plants, then the butterflies will fly around you, and if you stick one of the flowers on your lapel you may get one of them landing on it, so keep a camera ready and handy for your partner or friend to catch you with a live buttonhole.

 Identification seems to be a big problem with butterflies. Many people seem to think that any that have red in them, are ‘Red Admirals’! but in most cases they are looking at  the ‘Small Tortoiseshell’ variety.  This one’s upper wings are marbled  orange, yellow and black, and the Admirals upper wings are black with a red band that is the shape of a horseshoe with the open end at the front, and they also have white spots on the outer reaches of their wings. But if they are flying fast and furious , mistakes are easily made. Practice makes perfect.

 After you have had a good look around the reservoir and feel like a longer walk, then head down the road towards Kingarth for about three hundred metres and you will come to the ‘Drumreoch’ circuit. This is an excellent walk which goes in a big semicircle, passing the remains of the once time farm of that name which is now a winter shelter for cows and their food. After that, you have a hedge on both sides of you, so you will have plenty of birds and butterflies to see. at this point you are on the part of the ‘West Island Way’, and will continue to be on it as you enter ‘Lord Jame’s Ride. Turn right on to this track when you see the way marker. Up to the top of the hill, and after you have read  the plaque on the cairn which is built round an unused triangulation pillar, look around and you will find a lovely seat to sit on. This seat is in itself a story.
Now head down hill to the next junction. Turn right if you have left your transport at the memorial, or left if you walked over the moor road, which will take you back to the  Loch Ascog area. If you have taken binoculars with you, then you can rest your weary legs in the ‘Bird Hide’ which you can’t miss which is at the south end of the loch, and have a good look at the birds while your aching legs try to pull themselves together. After your extended break,  your legs will not want to start again, at this point they would rather go into cramp, but as you have only about two kilometres to go they will have to be persuaded to carry on. As you come down High Street, why not go into the ‘Leisure Pool’ complex and have a well earned soak and sauna  so that you will be ready for another long walk tomorrow.

First published in the Buteman


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