St Bees RSPB & Maryport, Cumbria - 20th June 2010

I'd seen a short documentary on the BBC I think probably Springwatch or maybe even the One Show (yes I'm the one) about the Small Blue butterfly and how they had reintroduced it in an area in Sussex (I think), so when I read on Mike Foleys natural history blog that there was an area in Maryport where he had found them off we went. With it being a long trip we decided to call in at St Bees, somewhere we hadn't visited before but I'd read it was one of the best places in the North West for sea birds. Not having that much time we didn't walk the full length of the cliffs but we did manage most of the birds we had hoped for.
To our supprise Small Blue can be found here with a large area of Kidney Vetch, its primary foodplant growing on the cliffs near the beach. We spotted two Small Blue on our walk out and another 3 on our way back but with the steepness of the cliff and the Small Blue having a wingspan as little as 16mm they were proving very difficult to photograph. Sightings along the cliff face included Sand & House Martin, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Skylark, Rock Pipit, Linnet, Whitethroat, Starling, Raven, Jackdaw, Rook, Peregrine (check out the photo on Spudds Nature Blog), Razorbill, Guillemot, Gannet, Kittywake, Fulmar, Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull & Cormorant.
ABOVE HERRING GULL BELOW SMALL TORTOISESHELL
As far as the Small Blue was concerned Maryport provided to be fruitful with 4 Small Blue showing during the half an hour period we were there. The numbers were down from Mikes visit but this may have been due to the slight breeze or the because the Kidney Vetch was begining to die off.
ABOVE AND BELOW SMALL BLUE ON KIDNEY VETCH
MALE SMALL BLUE
FEMALE SMALL BLUE
BELOW A PYRAMID ORCHID ON THE SAME SITE AS THE SMALL BLUE

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Glad you had a successful day, it's a long way to go otherwise. Also, I really like your redesigned site! Mike.

Stu said...

Nice stuff, I haven't been to St Bees for over 20 years, used to love the place........

Derek Gallagher said...

Thanks Mike I think it needed a change, just need a new header photo now.

Stu, yes its a great walk as well as a good place to sea watch though I think we left it a little late in the year for most of the breeding birds and didn't get up there early enough to walk the full length.

√ Abraham Lincoln said...

I am not sure we have the same butterfly over here but we do have some similar in size and color.