Volunteers view a Vestal first at St Abbs

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CONSERVATION volunteers spotted a moth more commonly found in north Africa in a one-day survey earlier this month (Saturday, October 5).

Butterfly Conservation volunteers trapped a Vestal moth when they took part in a 24-hour ‘bioblitz’ run by St Abbs and Eyemouth Voluntary Marine Reserve to find as many different species of plants and animals in a given area.

Butterfly Conservation’s east of Scotland organiser, Barry Prater said: “Two highlights were the Vestal moth which came to a light-trap run on the Saturday evening at St Abbs and finding a Common Blue butterfly on the cliff top at Eyemouth Fort during the day.”

The national butterfly charity said this autumn’s traditional moth migration saw the largest number of Vestal moths entering the UK for half a century.

Mr Prater said: “At the moment, the one at St Abbs is the only local sighting reported – and it’s a first for St Abbs, which is surprising as this is a hotspot for all sorts of wildlife enthusiasts, and the moths there have been well-studied over many years.

“There have only been 14 previous records of the Vestal across the Borders since 1982.”

Concerning the Common Blue butterfly, he said: “Seeing one in October is extremely unusual. The most 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 June/July.”