ONE of Scotland’s largest conservation charities has reported its first butterfly sighting of the year which they say heralds the start of spring.

The National Trust for Scotland posted the unusual sighting of a Red Admiral, which has been spotted in the gardens at Brodick Castle on Arran.

Gardener George Inglis made the discovery and managed to catch a photograph while at work at the estate which has been in the care of the charity since 1958.

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Although Red Admirals are common across the UK, they are not usually seen so early in spring, usually migrating from Europe and North Africa once temperatures here start to rise.

Brodick senior ranger Kate Sampson said: “It is quite unusual to see a Red Admiral as our first butterfly of the year. This could suggest that it over- wintered here, rather than migrating.

“Let’s hope this heralds a big year for butterflies at Brodick.”

The National Trust for Scotland collects information about wildlife sightings on its land, which it then feeds into the National Biodiversity Network, providing comprehensive information on Scotland’s amazing wildlife.

Visitors are encouraged to submit their sightings at www.nts.org.uk/wildlifesurvey.

As the gardens burst into bloom once again, there will be a series of tours focusing on the impressive castle exterior, sharing a long and fascinating history that stretches back to medieval times.

One of the highlights of the year is the opening of a new adventure play area, which is inspired by Arran’s nature and countryside and opens this summer.