Sunday, 2 October 2011

Arnside Knot Butterflys june/july 2011 pt1

My next target species for 2011 was the rare high brown fritillary  Argynnis adippe , only found in a few sites in the  south of england and in cumbria .
Visiting Arnside Knott for the first time, i hoped to see quite a few new species of butterfly, including the high brown,dark green and small pearl bordered fritillarys which i have never seen.
Arnside knott is surrounded on 3 sides by water,  and has a very specific habitat for these butterfly species.

The first area i came to was heathwaite meadow on the southern side of the knott

A wonderfull sight seeing all the daisys  and my first sight of the big beautifull dark green fritillary Argynnis aglaja  feeding on the flowers.

Contiuing around the lower slopes i came across my second new species of the day, the northern brown argus,Aricia artaxerxes , a small butterfly similar to a common blue.  it is only found in the north of england

I continued to climb higher up the knott in search of the prefered habitat of the high brown , bracken !

climbing up this slope i eventually found a promising area

This was the area i spotted my first ever high brown fritillary

A newly emerged specimen, wings not even fully hardened off, perched on a bracken stem  and then after i managed a few shots it flew up into a tree, where i shot the second  image .

Just after shooting this high brown i came across a dark green fritillay perched on a bracken stem , which in this shot clearly  shows the difference between the two species with the high browns extra underwing spots.they are very difficult to tell apart from the upperwing view.

Here is a view from near the top of the knott looking towards the cumbrian fells

i continued around the northern side of the knott to the steep shale paths to hopefully find Grayling butterflys ,Hipparchia semele  which like to rest on the warm stone,  on the steepest path which goes down to the carpark i found at least 20 grayling in a small area, so there had to a huge number on this side of knott.   they blend in very well with the surroundings but where easy to get near to photograph,  but difficult to get exposure correct in the bright sunlight!

The Arnside adventure will continue.......

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