We started the year needing to film four butterfly species to complete our high definition coverage (look out for what should be a stunning new DVD later in the year). These species were High Brown Fritillary, Large Heath, Scotch Argus and Mountain Ringlet. Thanks to our good friend Neil Hulme (whose account of the trip you can now read across on the webzine) we recently had a fantastic time filming HBFs on Dartmoor. And last weekend, both Large Heath and Mountain Ringlet were bagged during an equally successful foray to Cumbria. Ah it is satisfying when a plan comes together!
Steve Clarke, Chairman of the Cumbria branch of Butterfly Conservation, was kind enough to direct us to prime sites for both the target species. By far the most arduous was Mountain Ringlet. Several healthy colonies exist in the hills above Honister Pass. But you have to be there: a) during the only two weeks in the year when the adults are flying; b) when the sun is shining; c) but not shining too much; and d) when it is not too windy. Fortune was on our side. After a near vertical ascent of almost 1,000 ft we were rewarded with superb views of numerous little brown butterflies, patrolling determinedly across the moor.
The next day Large Heath proved to be fairly straightforward at a traditional site for this species in the south of the Lake District.
Now only Scotch Brown Argus remains...