I imagine many people make a list of stuff they will need to take when they go on holiday: swimsuit, sunglasses, sun cream ….. bat detector, night vision googles, trail camera, GoPro camera and moth trap. Our packing list may not be 100% conventional, but for me these are all part of the fun of going somewhere new – essentials for discovering the wildlife in and around our holiday cottage. Last month in northern Lancashire, just south of the Lake District was no exception. The main target may have been the 2 new butterfly species in the last blog post, but we’re always keen to see what else is around.
In the end it was a bit windy for a lot of the week, so I only managed to put the moth trap out once, but it still produced some species that we’ve never seen in our own garden. This Mullein Wave was completely new to me, looking like a larger version of a Small Dusty Wave.
Then there were 2 purples – Purple Clay and Purple Bar, both new to me as the only purple we get at home is a Purple Thorn.
The rest of the moths in the trap were ones I had seen before, although in different proportions – lots more White Ermines than I ever get at home for instance. The Brown China Mark (below) was perhaps not surprising, given that their caterpillars are aquatic and we had a lake at the bottom of the garden at the holiday cottage.
We tend to keep an eye out for moths as well as butterflies when we’re out on walks and were lucky enough to spot a few day-flying ones. The Cinnabar is common at home, but is still always a treat to see with its flash of red underwings.
The Marbled White Spot was a bit more of an unusual find for us at the Foulshaw Moss Nature Reserve.
I had initially noted the next moth down as a Brown Silver-line, but on closer inspection, decided it was a July Belle – another new species.
Mothy highlight for me though was finding this Clouded Buff up on Irton Fell – a stunning moth, that my poor photo doesn’t do justice to, but it shot off before I could get a better pic (and having used all my energy just getting up Irton Fell, I was in no state to chase it!).
Although we’d gone keen to see the Mountain Ringlet and Northern Brown Argus, any butterfly sightings are always welcome. This faded Pearl or Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary (if anyone can confirm which I’d appreciate it) was spotted at Warton Crags Nature Reserve.
This Dingy Skipper at Arnside Knott was also a nice addition to the week, as it’s a species we don’t see that often.
Small Heath butterflies were fairly common at a lot of the places we visited and several had the decency to pose nicely for photographs.
We were particularly pleased to find Large Heath butterflies at Foulshaw Moss, as we’d only seen them once before at Whixall Moss. Unfortunately it was blowing a gale at Foulshaw and then started to rain, so we didn’t get any really decent photos, but it’s definitely a site to go back to in the future.
Finally we also saw a lot of Large Skippers, also at Foulshaw, but in areas more sheltered from the wind. Large Skippers always seem quite happy to have their photos taken and several posed peacefully on the bracken.
Our holiday photos are perhaps as odd as our holiday packing list, we don’t take many of each other, just the wildlife around us – it is after all far more photogenic!