I spent a day with Nick Patel at Arnside Knott for my first full day of entomology, specialising in butterfly. We managed a pretty impressive 20 species of butterfly in 8 hours, which I was over the moon about! It was particularly special for me because I saw 6 new species.
Above and Below - Northern Brown Argus was one of my favourites for the day, mainly because it is one of the rarest and most localised species in Britain being restricted to far north west Lancashire and Durham. Separated from Brown Argus by the two white spots on the open wing, this was a delightfully delicate little butterfly.
Above - High Brown Fritillary was another new species for me and only my 2nd ever species of fritillary in Britain (Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary being the 1st). These were impressive beasts and being such a bright orange colour made them stand out from a decent distance.
Above and Below - Dark Green Fritillary was the 2nd fritillary of the day and another new one. These weren't quite as orange at the High Browns but with the addition of the intricate underwing, made for another lovely butterfly. This was probably the most common species we saw all day with over 100 being seen at least! Fantastic!
(In addition to the 2 fritillary species photographed above, I also managed to see Pearl-bordered Fritillary and 2+ Silver-washed Fritillary which were again new for me.)
Above - Grayling was the 6th new species of the day for me and was one of the most abundant of the butterfly species present with 30+ being seen.
Butterfly species seen - Silver-washed Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary, High Brown Fritillary, Grayling, Northern Brown Argus, Common Blue, Large White, Small White, Green-veined White, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Small Skipper, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Heath, Ringlet
Incredibly we never saw Peacock all day and we felt a little bit 'short changed' that we were unable to locate either Purple or White-letter Hairstreak despite great effort. We were hoping, considering everything else being early this year, to maybe get an early Scotch Argus, but no such joy.
Above - The only odonata species we saw was this Emerald Damselfly which was present next to some Ragwort and Bramble in some Juncus. This is only the 3rd time I've ever seen this species after seeing 1 at Brockholes and 6 at Beacon Fell back in 2007.
A final addition to the days list was a Hummbird Hawkmoth feeding on Ox-eye Daisy on the front at Arnside next to the Kent Railway Viaduct.
A superb day overall and really worth the effort, even if I extremely tired as I write this.