UK butterflies in Cumbria

D.P.Howson D.P.Howson at
Mon Aug 3 15:24:22 EDT 1998

I have just (31July,1 Aug) visited Witherslack in Cumbria, an area well known for over 100 years for its butterflies.
EB Ford came from the region and wrote the 1945 New Naturalist's volume on Butterflies. I have been trying to cross reference his following comments on the area.

Does anyone know where the old colony of Silver-studded Blue (plebejus argus) 'at Witherslack' actually occurred? Was it perhaps on Meathop Moss? Are there any plans for a reintroduction?

Does anyone know where the old colony of Silver-washed Fritillary (argynnis paphia) 'at Witherslack' occured? We visited the nearby colony in the woods at the foot of Whitbarrow Scar. The insect is not shown as occurring so far North in recent books on UK butterflies such as Heath or Thomas. Has there been a reintroduction on an old site?

Anyway it was pleasing to see the colony of Scotch Argus(erebia aethiops) on Arnside Knott was thriving- we saw over 100 insects- together with a few Greyling(hipparchia semele) and High Brown Fritillary(argynnis adippe). These were all flying on an indifferent day.

Back in Yorkshire on 2 August there was only one Northern Brown Argus(aricia artaxerxes) on its Threshfield site. I hope other sites are doing much better.


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