Grayling, Silverdale

I LOVE SPENDING TIME ON THE LIMESTONE PAVEMENT in midsummer. It is one of our most unique and special habitats and is home to some sought-after butterflies and plants. Although I didn't manage to see a High Brown Fritillary today, which is very worrying, there were lots of Dark Green and Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries around as well as Grayling and Northern Brown Argus. Other butterflies included Large and Small Skippers, Ringlet, Meadow Brown and Small Tortoiseshell but there were generally far fewer butterflies on the wing than usual for this time of year. Dark-red Helleborines were over by around one week, Lady's Slippers much longer but Broad-leaved Helleborines were about a week away from opening. Angular Solomon's Seal was also well over and Tutsan in fruit now. Nevertheless is was lovely to be amongst them all again, even though the light was so harsh with barely a cloud in the sky. Birds included a Tawny Owl being harassed by a small gathering of blackbirds and dragonflies, a female Black-tailed Skimmer on the pavement and a couple of wandering Brown Hawkers.

A lush stand of Herb Paris, ancient woodland indicator