The Wildlife Information Centre

Biological data for south-east and part of central Scotland

Fiddlehead of Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum)
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TWIC recording excursion to Dunglass and Bilsdean, 19th July 2009

A record number of recorders met under the railway bridge at Dunglass for the July recording excursion, which was to Dunglass and Bilsdean in the extreme south-east of our area, next to the Berwickshire border. In spite of a poor weather forecast, it was mainly sunny, and latterly quite warm, although there was a stiff breeze on the coast. We started by going down Dunglass Dean in the morning, then had lunch on the beach (Fig. 1), and returned up Bilsdean (Fig. 2) in the afternoon. The first interesting find was an aggregation of the large slug Arion cf. rufus on the concrete of one of the road bridges (Fig. 3); the slugs had settled in damp corners of the structure, all facing head up, and came in all colours, from quite pale to nearly black. Further down the valley there was a good population of the hairy little Silky Snail, Ashfordia granulata, apparently a new record for this area. Leaf litter here yielded good numbers of the minute Herald Snails, Carychium spp., also new to the area.

Beach at Dunglass Bilsdean Glen

One hope was that Dunglass and Bilsdean, being close to the Berwickshire border, might be a route by which various species spreading north might first reach the Lothians. Unfortunately we didnít see a lot of butterflies, and those were mainly Green-veined Whites, but it was nice to spot a Small Tortoiseshell, which have been so scarce this year. There were some moths too: a Smoky Wainscot (Fig. 4), a Large Yellow Underwing and the Magpie Moth. Another good sighting was a fair number of 7-spot Ladybirds, more than some people had seen during the whole of the year hitherto.

Arion cf rufus Smoky wainscot

The botanists had a good time as well, and found several interesting plants, including Hemp Agrimony, Eupatorium cannabinum, Agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria, and Rough Hawkbit, Leontodon hispidus. Wood Speedwell, Veronica montana, and Hairy Brome, Bromopsis ramosa, were also present. The deep damp wooded valleys were also rich in fine specimens of Hartís Tongue Fern, Phyllitis scolopendrium. Altogether a rewarding day out, which added considerably to our knowledge of the fauna and flora of this distant corner of East Lothian.

TWIC is a company limited by guarantee - registered in Scotland No. SC234339. A recognised Scottish Charity SC034113. TWIC acknowledges financial support from Scottish Natural Heritage.