Friday, 15 July 2011
For this week's trip I had decided to cross the border and explore the area around Witherslack in South Cumbria. This is a fabulous area for the naturalist and has some wonderful nature reserves managed by the Cumbria Wildlife Trust. I knew the area reasonably well having done some butterfly and plant hunting a few years ago. The very warm weather continued and it seemed an ideal opportunity to spend the day around the village of Witherslack which gives access to the nearby Foulshaw and Meathop Mosses and to the extensive woodlands underneath the magnificent limestone escarpment of Whitbarrow Scar.
I began the day looking for dragonflies at Foulshaw Moss and was kept busy photographing the delightful black darters which posed obligingly on the bankside vegetation bordering one of the delightful pools at Foulshaw. From here I went into the extensive woodlands at Witherslack to look for the large fritillary butterflies to be found there. I came across one or two clearings in the woods which had many brambles in flower and from time to time the fritilaries were visiting to nectar on the flowers. They were not easy to photograph but I did manage some shots of a mating pair which are shown above. Other butterflies present were common blues and dark green fritillaries.
For the remaining time I returned late afternoon to Foulshaw Moss. There was less activity from the dragon and damsel flies but red deer were beginning to come out of hiding way out on the moss. I had nice but distant views of the deer but was suddenly aware of a fox quite close to the viewing platform and making it's way out onto the moss through the rough grasses and sedge vegetation. I managed a couple of shots before the fox heard the camera shutter and rapidly vanished. Not long after that super views were had of a visiting Marsh Harrier which came fairly close and gave great views in the evening sunshine.
It was now time to make the journey home after what had been a wonderful day with the camera in this very special area of Cumbria. I was very pleased with the results and have shown above some of the day's highlights. I can't wait to return for more wildlife encounters in this part of Cumbria. I hope my readers enjoy the images posted above of black darter dragonfly , emerald damselfly ,and mating pair of silver washed fritillaries. The highlight of a wonderful day was of course the fox and the fly past of the marsh harrier both shown above and one or two of the magnificent scenery in this part of the world.