Highland Diary

Around Morecambe Bay



The area around Morecambe Bay in North-west England offers a range of photo opportunities that are a complete contrast to habitats and species that we experience here in the Highlands. As at many other wetland reserves in England the RSPB’s Leighton Moss enables close encounters with species such as Avocet, Bittern and Marsh Harrier. When I started out as a photographer nearly fifty years ago all were so rare here in the UK that you had to travel abroad to stand a chance of photographing them. The reserve gets very busy during the day but early in the morning and late in the evening it’s possible to get on with photography without too much noise and movement going on around you in the hide.

We visited the nearby Gait Barrows NNR in late May 2017 hoping encounter the Duke of Burgundy butterfly. Then we were too late as their flight period was all but over. This year ten days earlier we were in luck and found several close to the path just in range of the camera. The woodlands and grasslands overlaying the limestone offered an interesting range of plants and insects along side those more familiar to us in Scotland. This was the case when we stopped off on our way north at couple of Cumbria Wildlife Trust reserves. At Letterbarrow we found a number of White spotted Sable moths. I had glimpsed this rather showy micro-moth earlier in the trip but had not managed to get a picture. At Humphrey Head, Hoary Rockrose and Green-winged Orchid were both new to me. As was the Lancastrian Whitebeam found growing on the limestone crags of the headland. It is a species closely related to the rare Rock Whitebeam which we see further north in Scotland.