Thursday, 23 June 2016

Lake District, 6th-9th June

At the beginning of June myself and Julie headed up north for a four day stay in the Lake district. The main reason was to catch up with a few of the orchids and butterflies that occur around this area. So on the Monday and after settling into our accommodation we decided to head to the Cumbrian wildlife trust reserve "Humphrey head" which was only around a mile's drive from where we were staying, for an evening walk and see what was around. The reserve is known for it's Peregrine's and it wasn't long before we saw the pair flying around the cliff face, calling. The reserve is also good for wildflowers like Bloody cranesbill and a lot of rockrose was also seen, so the next thing was to look for a northern speciality the "Northern brown argus". It didn't take long to come across them and 5+ were seen flying low over the grassland.

 Northern brown argus

 Bloody cranesbill

 Northern brown argus
On Tuesday the 7th we were off to Little Asby for what would be a new species of orchid for me, The "Small white orchid". When we arrived on site, lots of Bird's eye primrose was seen in flower. 10+ Northern marsh orchids were also seen. I started to walk around the site and look for the cages that protect the orchids from the grazing cows. It wasn't long before I came across my first cage but while walking towards it there was no obvious sign of an orchid growing in there. After closer inspection there was one in there but still in bud! Had I come to early? I carried on looking for more cages and found another one but again one orchid still in bud. Disappointed and wanting to see one in flower I carried on looking for more cages and soon came across another two, this time one of them contained an orchid, not in full flower but with at least a few of the bottom flowers opening up, that was good enough for me, Small white orchid in the bag!

 Small white orchid

 Small white orchid

 Northern marsh orchid

 Northern marsh orchid

 Northern marsh orchid
Pleased with finally adding Small white orchid to my list we headed back down the M6 to Gait barrows nature  reserve for the Lady's slipper orchid. Once we'd parked the car up, we followed the signs to where the orchids were growing. A  Small pearl bordered fritillary flew past while walking to the area. Once we were in the area it was the complete opposite to the Small white orchid with nearly all the Lady's slipper orchids over or well past their best with only 3 flowers still looking ok. I grabbed a few shots of the best flowers then headed back to the car.

 Reserve sign

 Lady's slipper orchid

 Lady's slipper orchid
Once we got back to the car we decided to head for foulshaw moss nature reserve as there was a pair of Ospreys nesting on site, it's also good for White faced darter that have been reintroduced to the reserve. We parked the car and spoke to a warden who directed us to the viewing point for the Ospreys. One adult bird was seen on the nest which contained 2 young birds. 2 or 3 White faced darter were seen flying around one of the pools along with an Emperor dragonfly and a few four spot chaser. Large red and blue tailed damsels were also seen. After here it was back to our accommodation  for a rest.

 Foulshaw moss
On Wednesday 8th we decided to do a little sight seeing during the morning before heading to another Cumbrian wildlife trust reserve. This time it was the Latterbarrow reserve that's known for it's orchids and butterflies. 50+ Greater butterfly orchids were seen also a few Common spotted and Fragrant orchids were present. 4+ Northern brown argus were seen getting ready to roost.

 Reserve sign

 Northern brown argus

 Northern brown argus

 Northern brown argus

 Northern brown argus

 Greater butterfly orchid

 Greater butterfly orchid
Thursday 9th was spent at Sandscale Haws NNR. It's known for it's coral root orchids among other things. I had a quick look but none were found. Lots of Marsh cinquefoil was in flower. An emperor moth caterpillar was seen feeding on vegetation and two Dark green fritillary and 2 Wall brown were seen flying over the dunes. One blue tailed damsel was seen resting near a pool. After a few hours here we headed back to our accommodation to pack and head home to get ready for our weekend stint at the download festival which was another story!!!

 Sandscale haws NNR

Blue tailed damselfly

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