Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Dukes and Pearls.

A day off work today to head of to the west on a butterfly mission. I met Roger at his house before heading off to Gait Barrows, a woodland / limestone pavement reserve in North Lancs near Morcambe Bay.

Two special targets were on offer for me, Pearl bordered Fritillary and Duke of Burgundy butterflies. The Duke in particular is a very rare and declining species that needed to be looked for before its too late...

Our first stop was a wood on the other side of the hill to Gait Barrows above Leighton Moss, where we found our first Pearl bordered Fritillaries. We had about 5+ pristine individuals including a mating pair that allowed a very close approach.





Above - Pearl Bordered Fritillaries.

Also here were 1 Speckled Wood, 4 Orange Tip, 1 Small Heath and 1 Large White. A cool easterly breeze kept the butterflies into sheltered sunny corners. 6+ Speckled Yellow Moths defied photography attempts.

From here it was only a very short drive around the hill to Gait Barrows for our second and main target of the day - the Duke of Burgundy. A tiny butterfly with a wing span of no more than an inch, it proved more of a challenge to locate. With the help of some local knowledge we were soon in the right spots and found at least 4+ individuals defending tiny territories in the wood.






Above - Duke of Burgundy.

There was a good selection of butterflies here including 2 Brimstones, 1 Green Hairstreak, 2 Dingy Skippers and 2 Speckled Woods with a few more Pearl bordereds thrown in for good measure.

Another highlight in here was a large Slow Worm that made off too quickly for a photo!



Above - Dingy Skipper.



Above - One or two of these tiny micro moths were flitting around too, I think I've seen them on Dean's blog? Dean can you help with the i.d? [Its Pyrausta purpuralis - Thanks to Skev for the i.d...]



Above - We had a few Early Purple Orchids in the wood and at Silverdale...



Above - And about 50+ Green winged Orchids that were just past their best in the Silverdale meadows, a new plant for me.

A successful day then and all in beautiful scenery and bright sunshine. Nowt finer!

18 comments:

Ipin said...

Nice pics - a good day for it, it's great over there, if I had to live on the west coast up north, it would be in Arnside and Silverdale.

Skev said...

Hi Stewart. Your moth looks to be Pyrausta purpuralis (pyralid).
http://ukmoths.org.uk/show.php?bf=1362

Emma Anderson said...

Excellent pictures - what a good day out you had.

Les said...

Such great pictures of beautiful butterflies.

Dean said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dean said...

Stunning, Stewart. I`m totally envious.
Looks like Skev beat me to the id.

Tricia said...

All those wonderful flutters - I'm drooling!! Great to have seen your targets and such a variety - some of which I've not even heard of. Lovely!!

Stewart said...

Thanks for the comments all -
Tricia, you should google image the ones you hadn't heard of...
Dean, Is that the one you had last year?
Skev - Great stuff, cheers.

Dean said...

Stewart, i had Pyrausta aurata. They`re very similar.

abbey meadows said...

Cracking shots Stew. I got your text but I'm not off til Friday so you chose the right time to go.

Birding about Northumberland said...

Just wanted to say ....fab photo's

St said...

oh i was happy with speckled woods.
very nice

St said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
kirstallcreatures said...

The butterfly pics are outstanding. I often find myself inspired by your blog, great stuff!

Rambling Rob said...

Beautiful illumination and detail for the fritillaries, Stewart - you have really done them justice.

Northumbrian Birding said...

Just catching up with the blogs, some cracking photos there Stewart, that cameras working out great.

oldcrow61 said...

Absolutely gorgeous pictures of the butterflies.

Emma Anderson said...

I've been revisiting some of your old pieces, Stewart, not least this one as part of my butterfly planning for next year.