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meadow brown

Ellerburn Bank

Sunday, 23rd June 2002, North Yorkshire

orchidringletMeadows like Ellerburn Bank must have been commonplace as recently as the 1930s or 40s. Ellerburn, at the Thornton-le-Dale end of the Dalby Forest Drive, in North Yorkshire is managed as a Yorkshire Wildlife Trust reserve. Drifts of common spotted orchids (left) and the smaller, whiter, heath orchids are confined mainly to the more open end of the reserve, away from the neighbouring plantation, which partly shades the far, lower, end of the meadow. Cowslips are widespread but the flowers have now faded and only the seedheads remain.

meadow brownringletButterflies include meadow brown and ringlet. Ringlets (right) are easy to identify when they rest, wings folded, as eyespots are dotted over the underwing (above right). While in flight it's more difficult to separate the two. The ringlets are a darker, more uniform brown on the upper wings. Meadow browns (left) have an orangey patches near the corners of the upper forewings. Their wings are lighter and more patchy in appearance.

Another brown butterfly to look out for at Ellerburn, at edge of the woodland, is Scotch argus. It was there today, but I missed page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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