The Nature festival is just around the corner and in preparation we have been welcoming as many experts as possible to survey Merlindale's nature. On Tuesday the 8th of August Charlotte Rankin of Buglife and Miranda Bane, pollination ecologist representing the UK pollinator monitoring scheme visited Merlindale and surveyed our insects. They both found a plethora of insects including some very special species. Whilst surveying the meadow Charlotte found a Scotch Argus Butterfly, not previously recorded here in the Scottish Borders north of Tweedsmuir. She noted that "The Scotch Argus was basking beautifully until I disturbed it". She also was excited to record the much declined Broken-belted Bumblebee, "It's a bumblebee associated with later flowering grassland and moorland" she noted, "Devil's-bit scabious is particularly favoured by workers, males and new queens produced later in the season". Although superficially similar to the white-tailed bumblebee this species has a "bow-tie" shaped abdomen band that runs up the sides of the abdomen and a peachy fringe along the top of the tail. Another interesting find was the Bilberry Bumblebee, a localised species associated with an upland setting. Additionally, Miranda recorded several species of hoverfly enjoying the knapweed, ragwort and buttercups. She also spotted a large hornet mimicking a hoverfly which flew away too quickly to be examined but may have been either Volucella zonaria or Volucella inanis - both of which are usually found further South but appear to be extending their range north into Scotland.
A combined survey is attached in the Excel spreadsheet below as well as photographs of some of the species identified.
Scotch Argus butterfly
Carrion Beetle - Nicrophorus Investigator
Cinnabar Moth caterpillar