Tuesday, 3 July 2012

The Last Bit

Tuesday the 26th started off bright and fresh, getting warmer and sunnier through the morning.
We arrived at Arneside Knott just after 0800 and explored the large open area of bracken and rough pasture back along the road. The early interest was down to a very vocal family of Ravens.

 After a while the first butterflies appeared and they all turned out to be Dark Green Fritillaries. Every one was checked, but none were High Brown. They were pretty much confined to the bracken, and gradually warming themselves. I suspect it was here I picked up a souvenir of the trip in the form of a tick on the leg. Hopefully the early treatment will prevent any complications.

 Back at the car park we met up with a couple and they mentioned that Gait Barrows would be worth investigating. We had researched the site but (out of date) information suggested that advance permits were required, but could not resist a visit.
 There were still signs for the Ladies Slipper Orchids. I had believed that they would be over, as Bird Forum orchid reports were from many weeks back. However I recently found out that two plants were still flowering while we were there-we did search but did not know where they had been planted.
 The Limestone Pavement was very interesting with many ferns, shrubs and even trees growing. Dark red Helleborines should have been present as plants were apparently well developed nearby but we did not see any.
 The first good butterfly was a single Northern Brown Argus of the Castle Eden form , which posed well.

 In the same area a Grayling was found-for some reason it lay on it's side on the limestone.

 The walk down through the damp wood was interesting with large stands of Dropwort. A few Common Spotted Orchids were also present. The marshy area at the bottom was full of Northern Marsh and Early Marsh orchids, with as usual plenty of hybrids. A few Common Blue Damselflies and a Brown Hawker were seen.
 We met up with a couple from Somerset-one of the Shapwick Heath wardens, so we had a chat about their breeding Great White Egrets and Little Bitterns while studying the orchids and damselflies.
 The return back to the car provided a bonus when a Fritillary flew in front of me and came down in the grass. I was only able to get a few shots of the underside, while Colin got the top. I knew as soon as I saw it that it was a High Brown.

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