Friday, 29 July 2011

Return Visit

This week with the continuing warm and summery weather I decided on a return visit to the Witherslack area of South Cumbria. Last week I had enjoyed my first look at Foulshaw Moss and its special wildlife so I was keen to return to this lovely part of Cumbria. The weather was cloudy until late afternoon and a walk up onto Whitbarrow Scar looking for butterflies proved fruitless. I had lunch down at Foulshaw Moss where a few dragon and damselflies where on the wing. I enjoyed photographing the large fly you can see above nectaring on hemp agrimony. It's identity eluded me until later at home when I think I correctly identified it as one of the horse flies. Apparently it is only the females that bite to feed on blood and the males feed mainly on nectar. We have all experienced the bite of a cleg which can swell up and be painful for a few days. I can only say I wouldn't fancy a bite from one as large as the one shown above !!
Around mid afternoon the cloud began to break up and I decided on a return visit to the Whitbarrow area to look for butterflies. I went to the opposite end of Whitbarrow Scar and visited Cumbria Wildlife Trust's Reserve at Howe Ridding Wood. Coppice management here benefits a number of butterfly species,including pearl bordered,high brown and silver washed fritillary by allowing sunlight to the woodland floor and encouraging plants to flower. Although the sun was out there were not many butterflies on the wing and I only managed sightings of common blues and a few dark green fritillaries one of which is shown above.
It was now late afternoon and I returned to Foulshaw Moss for an evening's deer watching. The red deer eventually came out of hiding way out on the moss and one of the hinds came much closer to the viewing platform where myself and fellow photographer Richard Witham were waiting for photographic opportunities. We exchanged traveller's tales,Richard having travelled all over the world in pursuit of his passion for wildlife and landscape photography. If my readers are interested they can view Richard's website at We were pestered by a swarm of flying ants which attracted the attention of a group of swallows fattening up for their long journey south. The finale came as an osprey flew in to land in the group of pines still standing out in the centre of the moss. Ospreys are daily visitors to this area and will I am sure soon be taking up residence at this ideal location for their continued expansion from further north. It was a fitting end to another super day out in this beautiful part of Northern England.
As usual a few images from the day are shown above with the red deer, osprey,emerald damselfly and horsefly from Foulshaw Moss and dark green fritillary from Whitbarrow. I have also included images showing the views out onto Foulshaw Moss and the woodlands at Whitbarrow Scar. Hope my readers enjoy my account and images and many thanks for looking .


  1. A superb place.......I am not more than a hop skip and a jump away.....I'll follow in your footsteps....thank you.

  2. beautiful images. the light in some of these is phenomenal.

  3. The place looks tranquil and interesting; as for the images, they are tempting. Wonderful shots Brian. I do not know the place but I am amused.

  4. Such a diversity of wildlife and opportunities for photography Brian.After seeing these images I will have to make the effort and get up there.

  5. Another nice set of shots Brian. I believe the fly is Tachina grossa - a family of big bristly flies that parasitise caterpillars

  6. Hi Brian

    I love the multiple deer shot! Heads poking above the long grass is a lovely capture.