Here at Loch Gruinart Reserve there is lots of new life - from the last of the calves being born to the many fledglings flying around. The chough fledglings are flying around and distinct by their pale yellow beak rather than the adults' bright red. Hen harrier chicks are also beginning to fledge and sightings of hunting males are regular. 

On a smaller scale, one of the residential volunteers, Angharad walked into the office with a belted beauty caterpillar on her leg after doing a chough survey. (Anyone concerned, it was returned to it's home on a creeping willow). The belted beauty are one of the UKs rarest moths and the females are wingless!

Here is the caterpillar on the warden's diary - definitely a date worth remembering. 

On the subject of rarities, there is still some time to spot the marsh fritillary butterfly on the wing before they're gone for another year. Small heath butterflies, common blues and small coppers are also being spotted. We are currently in the middle of National insect week and along this theme the British Dragonfly Society are beginning their Dragonfly Challenge 2018 in July. To join in and become a ‘Dragon hunter’, try and find as many of the 6 special species as possible. The species are: Large Red Damselfly, Blue-tailed Damselfly, Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Four-spotted Chaser, and Golden-ringed Dragonfly. So if you are visiting Islay, keep an eye out for some of these species and pop in and let us know if you have managed to find any of them. Find out more information here - https://british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/dragonfly-challenge-2018 

Finally, as the summer holidays start here in Scotland, come visit the reserve and on one of our family orientated afternoons on the 6th and 13th of July or discover edible wild plants with 'The Botanist' forager James Donaldson on one of our Wild Foraging Walks - the next one is on the 5th July. If last weeks was anything to go by - the world of botany and foraging is fascinating! So contact the reserve to seal your place.

If these don't take your fancy, our trails and hides are always open or join one of the 10am start reserve guided walks (Tuesday at the Oa/ Thursday at Loch Gruinart). 

Anonymous