Tuesday, 30 July 2013

A Scotch invasion! Arnside Knott - 30th July 2013

View from Arnside Knott over the the Kent Estuary
Never have I been to a place where there is such an incredible display of a single species. Scotch Argus are very very localised in England confined to Arnside Knott and a site near to Kirkby Stephen. Today, I was astounded to see Scotch Argus in the region of 500+ individuals. One of the most incredible wildlife spectacles I've ever witnessed!

High Brown Fritillary. Note the 3rd (very small) spot from the front edge of the wing towards the outer edge is out of line and raised meaning the row of spots isn't in line. That was possibly the worst description of all time, so I apologise, but this is the main feature of the upperwing to distinguish from Dark Green Fritillary! 
Above and below - High Brown Fritillary - Note the extra row of white spots surrounded by dark orange between the two larger rows of white spots towards the edge of the hind wing. Again this is a feature not present in Dark Green.
There were several Fritillaries on the wing with an estimated 4/5 High Browns and 40-50 Dark Greens. All the High Browns that were identified still looked very fresh and bright orange, whereas 80% of the Dark Greens were very tatty including some individuals that must have been defying the laws of physics being able to fly!
Wall Brown - I was very surprised to find 4 Wall Browns at Arnside as I thought they were only locally present at Warton Crag. I really like Walls, they're stunning little things!
Grayling - 20+ were present today. I am usually used to seeing them on patches of Limestone, so the above individual on bramble shocked me when my bins locked onto it.
Northern Brown Argus - I really wasn't expecting to see NBA as I was really expecting them to be finished by now, so was really happy when I came across the above individual. I was surprised that it looked relatively fresh too. Great little butterflies.
Painted Lady - My first since 2011 and this one really gave fantastic views as it happily fed away (probably very hungry after its journey!). Really stunning butterflies above and below.

A great day at one of my favourite spots and one I will remember for a while to come! 18 species in total today with common omissions such as Common Blue, Small Copper, Ringlet, among others.

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