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Scottish butterflies? Yes, you can see them here and there are some northern specialities, such as the Scotch cringe. To be quite plain: if a) you already know a lot about butterflies and/or b) don't have a sense of humour (well, some really do have silly names), then look here instead at some serious butterfly conservation opportunities.
(Left): the bent copper. Let's start with the observation that that an important segment of tourism in Scotland seems to be all about adventure sports and adrenaline - all that stuff that involves roaring around in ribs or ripping up heather and dune with quad-bikes. Even wildlife watching, which sits most unhappily next to this sector, inevitably focuses on the larger and more spectacular denizens: whales the size of cargo ships, huge red deer clashing antlers while the mountains echo with their bellowing, or the sea eagle 'the flying door' pouncing on its fishy prey, while a boat-load of visitors watch in awe. It's certainly dramatic.
Can I say a wee word about Scottish butterflies? No? Oh, go on. For anyone out there who likes things a bit more peaceful, then I'd like to direct you to this often ignored aspect of wildlife watching here. There are great advantages in getting to know a few Scottish species. For a start, they only come out in summer when it's sunny. You don't need any special equipment to creep up on them - and they don't bite. Their worst feature is their short attention span. Scottish butterflies just can't seem to settle on anything for long.
Right: The Scotch Crumpet. Right (Below): The Biggar Blue. (Do not confuse with the Lanark Blue.)
The other advantage is that you can spot butterflies when birds aren't very obvious, in the hot still days (hah!) of late summer. For instance, on the short countryside interlude illustrated here, I saw plenty of these socially acceptable insects. But, as for birdlife, all I observed was a pair of chocolate-spotted flapjacks and also a distant bletherskite (unconfirmed - probably a juvenile). Another plus-point for this hobby is that Scottish butterfly stalking is usually very safe. The only hazard is that warm sunny days are also favoured by horse-flies or 'clegs' but you should be OK unless you make loud neighing sounds while on the stalk. Besides, clegs only bite because they resent the attention that Scottish midges get in guidebooks.
(Right) The dingy minger. Common in the Buckie area. Anyway, these pictures are the result of half-an-hour's stalking on rough grass by a sunny bank at the edge of woodland, near Elgin on the Morayshire Riviera. (And, yes, I'm being slightly serious.) Describing Scottish butterflies as a barometer of the environment may sound a little pious but it is absolutely true. If you see a lot of butterflies around, then you can be sure you're in a bit of fairly unspoilt habitat. Or, if you're a golfer, you're in deep rough.
Bored dog in typical butterfly habitat in Scotland. The even more boreder terrier wandered off out of shot. Sensible girl. Dogs (except for papillions, obviously) are totally indifferent to butterflies.
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Scotland in Three Days