Monday, 16 June 2014

Very early rare Northern Brown Argus plus

Todays Northern Brown Argus Butterfly
Monday 16th June 2014

I planned my day to go across the Hutton Roof Common in search of the Holly Fern (polystichum lonchitis) and went to the second highest point on the Hutton Roof complex.  I found very little in the way of polystichums just the odd Hard Shield Fern specimens.

A day with nature can never ever be disappointing, take today for instance on my way over to the other side of Hutton Roof, I called off to check out various things and came across a good one metre diameter colony of Common Rock Rose, and what should be there feeding, was that little beauty the rare Northern Brown Argus butterfly. This is really good news because we are already aware of colonies on both the West and East side of the Hutton Roof complex, but this is slap bang in the middle of both which may indicate that colonies are possibly linking and covering the complete area. Also it was great to find a new area close to the Cairns which again had a further metre plus of the (not so common) Common Rock Rose. 

Also on the wing were several Small Pearl Bordered, Small Heaths and Speckled Wood Butterflies. 

It was great to be checking out all the rare Epipactis coming through nicely and we should have great specimens within about ten days (thats the Dark Reds), the Broad Leaved are doing well also but would expect another three weeks to a month yet.

Just look at the photo I took this morning, showing how close they breed next to one another with just my 6" notebook managing to fit between them.

both Dark Red and Broad Leaved Helliborine on 6" apart
(Click over to enlarge)
Is it any wonder we have the magnificent hybrid the Epipactis Schmalhauseneii, which there is usually a specimen within a couple of metres of these two parents. 

Another great bonus today was to find that the Lesser Whitethroat has held territory in upper Dalton Crags now for over six weeks. 

The Cuckoo was heard calling well on my way up there, but calling with a "poorly" 2nd syllable "coo" or rather "kii" by the time I returned. I also thought I heard a "bubbling" female Cuckoo calling from somewhere close.   Was able to do some recording of Angular Solomon's Seal - four new sites along with some Limestone Polypody Ferns and Flea Sedge. Found a further 8 Birds Foot Sedge (cared ornithopoda), also Limestone Bedstraw, Tree Pipits, A party of 6 Mistle Thrush, a basking Lizard.