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Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Lancs/Cumbria (Orchids & Butterflies) 30/6-2/7/14

I left home at 6.30am on Monday and endured the non-stop journey north to Gait Barrows on the Lancs/Cumbria border. I arrived at 12.30 and it was fair to say I was quite excited as a new Orchid species was waiting for me. It wasn't difficult to find as there were numerous signs leading up to the area. The Orchid in question is the Lady's Slipper, one of the rarest Orchids in Britain. There was only one left in flower, but it looked awesome. Also about were a couple of Northern Brown Argus, and several Grayling.


Lady's Slipper at Gait Barrows

Next stop was Arnside Knott where after several hours of wandering around I managed a quick view of a High Brown Fritillary, stacks of Dark Green Fritillaries, several Northern Brown Argus, Grayling, Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries and a White Admiral. However the highlight was seen when leaving the car park when I just happened to glace to my right and notice a Dark Red Helleborine. Closer inspection resulted in finding another four there.



 Northern Brown Argus at Arnside Knott

Dark Red Helleborine at Arnside Knott

Last stop of the day was Meathop Moss for the Large Heath butterfly. Due to getting here quite late on, they weren't that active, which helped out with the photos. Also there were Black Darters about, all in different stages of ageing. A Grasshopper Warbler was reeling as well, and was seen briefly.

 Large Heath at Meathop Moss
Black Darter at Meathop Moss

I checked myself in at the rather posh 'Cumbria Grand Hotel', but for £40 it was the cheapest around, and also put me in a good position venture into the Lakes the next day. However I was slightly nervous to enter such a posh hotel in the fear of being turned away, mainly due to my ragged look.

Day 2 - 1/7/14
Another great day weather wise, which meant an extremely tiring hike (in trainers) up to Red Tarn. It was really tough going, but a Golden-ringed Dragonfly and Ring Ouzels kept the pain away. Up at the Tarn, the views were brilliant, and after two hours, I finally saw the target, a Mountain Ringlet. A further two were seen, but I only managed a record shot. 

 Mountain Ringlet at Red Tarn
 the start
 halfway
the finish - Red Tarn

Now exceptionally tired, I decided another wander around Arnside was in order, but no luck with the High Browns despite people claiming them, but were presumably Dark Greens. I did find another two Dark Red Helleborines which were nice. As I had booked in at the Grand Hotel again, I visited Foulshaw Moss, but other than Black Darters and Emerald Damselflies there wasn't a great deal. 

 Emerald Damselfly at Foulshaw
Black Darter at Foulshaw

On the last morning I nipped into Foulshaw and saw the family of Ospreys, and a brief visit to Warton Craggs produced a couple of Northern Brown Argus. Despite recent sightings, I didn't see any Fritillaries.  I left at midday (aiming to miss any rush hour traffic) and arrived home around 5pm. A very successful trip, and even better the weather was perfect. 





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