On a beautiful morning in late August the sun poured through the flowers of Smardale Ghyll and bees and butterflies foraged for nectar and pollen. This small tortoiseshell sank its proboscis into the scabious to feed. It has been such a wet summer that flora grows tall and rank and whilst some flowers are fading fast there are green buds of scabious yet to come. Rose-bay willow herb gave a splash of colour and great burnet grew tall and stately, its deep colour contrasting with the delicate scabious.
This butterfly is a Scotch Argus, the white pupils in the eye-spots are definitive. And the butterfly is on the wing through August. The Mountain Ringlet which it resembles is earlier. But its wings are worn and ragged so it has lost the rich colour it must once have had.
Jan Wiltshire is a nature writer living in Cumbria. She also explores islands and coast and the wildlife experience. (See Home and My Books.)