Raising a glass to the beauty of nature

A small copper butterfly
A small copper butterfly

Distilleries, by the very nature of their need for water, tend to be in natural riverside settings, writes George Hogg (Hogg Estate Services).

This is certainly the case at Glenkinchie where I was surveying species the other day.

At one point I came upon a Small Copper butterfly acting suspiciously.

Landing low down in the short grass of a woodland track, the wee butterfly then weaved its way through the grass stems to get to the ground where it sat upon a leaf no bigger than a fingernail.

Sometimes the need to record the behaviour of wildlife makes it hard to observe exactly what is going on.

Only when the butterfly flew off, was I able to take a close up photograph of the leaf it had been so interested in.

Enlarging the picture on the screen on the rear of my camera confirmed my suspicions, there were indeed butterfly eggs there.

Not only that, they clearly showed the low dimpled shape of Small Copper eggs.

This was a stroke of luck had I not realised the butterfly was egg laying, I would never have found the eggs.

Small Copper eggs are minute. At 0.6mm wide and 0.3mm high they are far less than pin head size.

Many times I have searched for Small Copper eggs or caterpillars when I have found an area of sorrel, their favourite egg laying plant.

Never have I been lucky, but then these are not plentiful butterflies.

Small Copper like dry summers and dusty conditions. This summer has in the main been wet and windy.

However, if I was ever going to find their eggs it is at Glenkinchie where the natural setting of the distillery is enhanced and managed with Nature in mind.

Whisky and wildlife, what a natural mix.