Had a enjoyable morning on Gait Barrows. Thought it would be good today especially for butterflies because of it being such a sunny morning and I was proved to have made a wise choice.
There were several Duke of Burgundys feeding up on the primrose and cowslip, the ones I saw where mainly males. Also it was really interesting to see a couple which had just come out of their chrysalis, perhaps 15 minutes earlier and drying out and then being released back into the wild. A very worthwhile exercise, and I do believe will involve at least 30 individuals by the end of the programmed release. They are all individuals actually hatched from eggs which have been collected in the locality. This will help to swell the numbers of the local stock which sadly has depleted in more recent times. See photo below left of fresh chrysalis just before hatching.
Also had a female Common Blue which is quite early. A Pearl Bordered Fritillary, a Dingy Skipper, several Peacock, Orange Tips and Speckled Woods, a couple of Brimstone (males) and lots of Large Whites. Also had a couple of Speckled Yellow Moths.
Another first for me was seeing three "Rose Chafer" beetles at varying points on the limestone pavement. Quite a big beetle with similarity in size to cockroach... they would come flying past with a very loud humming, perhaps louder than the normal bumblebee, and a lovely irridescent greeny colour (see photo). Just by luck one of them decided to land quite close to me (within one metre) and I managed to take a few photos. It made such a thud when it landed!! Also had a couple of damselflies (unable to identify Blackish dark colours not the azure blue type), also had really good views of the Four Spotted Chaser (see photo). Lots of Wood Ants about as usual.
Bird life included: Chiffchaff (5), Garden Warbler, Willow Warbler (7), Long Tailed Tit, Buzzard overhead, Greylag Geese down at Little Haweswater (6) included one which was almost completely white. Goldcrest - several heard (great to hear!), Heron.
Flora included: Lily Of The Valley, Primrose, Cowslip, Bluebell, Red Clover, Daisy, Lesser Trefoil, Wood Anemone, Barron Strawberry, Bugle, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Plaintain, Speedwell (two different sorts), Common Dog Violet, Stitchworts, Stonecrop and Harts Tongue Fern...
Finally got to meet the Warden: Rob Petley-Jones, and some other interesting guys, one chap whom had travelled all the way from Stafford, just to see the Duke of Burgundys, also there where guys from Burnley, and Ilkley and there where others also.. (PLEASE CLICK OVER PHOTO ONCE AND THEN CLICK OVER AGAIN TO GET THE FULL ENLARGEMENT)..
1900-2030hrs. Had a walk around Dalton Woods and Dalton Crags. It was a proper evening chorus with lots of the regular species, singing their little hearts out. Probably the prize for the loudest was by far the Song Thrush, we heard a couple of them at the start of the walk and they where still going at it on our return, over a hour later. Also heard Blackcap, Garden Warbler, and several Willow Warbler.
Found another couple of Early Purple Orchids - both individuals.