Butterflies in Cumbria

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Small pearl bordered fritillary, like polished gold

To visit a new area is always exciting, you never know quite what you will see.

 

I have never been to Cumbria so plenty of research was needed.  I only had a few hours so they had to be well spent.  My number one choice was Arnside Knott.  Mid June is a bit early for the specialities this site is known for but you never can tell. Friday was grey and windy but Saturday was beautiful weather.

 

The Knott is a 500ft high limestone hill overlooking the Kent estuary.  It has wooded areas, open flower filled grassy glades, scrub and scree, with stunning views in all directions.  It was a lovely day and you could see the peaks of the Lake District which were named on the toposcope near the summit,quite beautiful.

 

The first butterfly I encountered was a small pearl bordered fritillary, which turned out to be the most numerous.  In the sunshine they shine like polished gold.

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Looking north from Arnside Knott over the Kent estuary towards the lakes
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Small pearl bordered fritillary

There was a good number of small heath also an early grayling and a fly through dark green fritillary which was not going to stop to have its piccy taken.

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An early grayling on the Knott

 

Then it was onto Meathop Moss on the north side of the estuary.  This is a rare habitat of raised peat bog with interesting plants like cotton grass and insect eating sundews.  The target here was large heath.  Seeing the butterflies was no problem, getting a half decent shot was another matter!  They hardly ever settled, covering miles.  When they did stop they were very distant from the board walk or deep in the vegetation.  I persevered and finally got a reasonable image and bitten by two ticks!

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Meathop Moss on a grey windy Friday, no butterflies today
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Large heath at Meathop Moss, the most frustrating butterfly I’ve tried to photograph
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A distant large heath at Meathop
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