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!