St Abbs Bioblitz reveals range of fauna and flora

Common Blue at Eyemouth
Common Blue at Eyemouth

The range of wildlife that can be seen in Berwickshire has been made evident through a recent species count along the region’s coast.

The count, or ‘Bioblitz’ as it was called, was run by the St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve.

The aim of the event was to find as many different species of plants and animals in a given area over a 24-hour period.

This Bioblitz was organised by Laura Smith, the VMR Ranger, and Butterfly Conservation helped out with searches for butterflies and moths, with great success.

Two of the highlights were the discovery of a Vestal moth which came to a light-trap run on the Saturday evening at St Abbs, and the finding of a Common Blue butterfly on the cliff top at Eyemouth Fort during the day.

The Vestal moth is a widespread and common resident of southern Europe and north Africa, but it is beginning to stray further north each year, reaching the UK, although sightings generally come from the south.

Barry Prater, chairman of Butterfly Conservation East Scotland, commented: “There is much excitement this year because numbers are high and also because some have reached Scotland.

“At the moment the vestal moth discovered at St Abbs is the only local sighting which has been reported.

“It’s a first for St Abbs, which is surprising as this is a hot-spot for all sorts of wildlife enthusiasts and the moths there have been well-studied over many years.”

The Common Blue lives up to its name in the Borders as it is quite widespread in areas of unimproved grassland but seeing one in this late in the year is extremely unusual.

The likely explanation is that the warm weeks of the summer encouraged some of the offspring from adults around earlier in the year to progress through all their stages to produce fresh adults now rather than next summer, which would be the normal situation in this part of the country.

The East Scotland Branch of Butterfly Conservation also confirmed several species managing to sustain colonies in the area, including the Green Hairstreak and Small Skipper butterflies.