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.

Looking north from Arnside Knott over the Kent estuary towards the lakes
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.

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!

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
A distant large heath at Meathop

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