Pearly Kings & Queens


Scrubby hillside of Arnside Knott
A few highlights from a visit to Arnside Knott
Pearl bordered Fritillary basking amongst the undergrowth.
Pearl bordered Fritillary.

The earliest of the fritillaries to emerge and typically found in woodland clearings and at Arnside Knott – rough, south facing hillsides. Highly threatened it’s unlikely to be confused with any of the other fritillaries simply because its restricted to such few sites.

Pearl bordered Fritillary nectaring on a Dandelion
Pearl bordered Fritillary nectaring on a Dandelion
Underwing of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary
Underwing of a Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Trying to photograph them is challenging despite there being at least 11 flying around close to the ground on a breezy morning in early May. Occasionally they do settle to feed however they’re fast flying and can cover a large distance far quicker than a person staggering around on a steep hillside. I was hoping to take a reasonable photo of the underside of the wings to show the two larger silver pearls and row of seven pearls however on this occasion this was my best effort. If only they’d have settled long enough with their wings raised. Perhaps less windy conditions would be better?

Green Hairstreak
Green Hairstreak

In addition to the Pear bordered Fritillaries also a few Green Hairstreaks to be found. In complete contrast to the Fritillaries the Hairstreak relies upon camouflage. Once settled they’ll typically remain in the same spot for several minutes allowing them to be closely approached.

Brimstone nectaring on a Dandelion

Far more common but again like the Green Hairstreak easily mistaken for a leaf.

An early Peacock Butterfly.
An early Peacock Butterfly – some butterflies just want to be seen.
Early Purple Orchid flowering along the hillside
Early Purple Orchid

Great to see several flowering along the hillside, most of which were slightly windburnt. Fortunately this group had received a bit of shelter from the bracken.

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