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We managed to get a bit of our planned volunteer training in butterfly and moth identification in between downpours at the Helm on Tuesday. We learnt from our inspiring and knowledgeable trainer, Friends of the Lake District's very own Kay Andrews that Cumbria has 41 of the 58 species of butterfly that exist in the UK, but that a whopping 2500 species of moth exist and can be far harder to identify.

Pictured: Capturing butterflies for identification on the Helm near Kendal

We decided our chances of success would depend on butterfly sightings! South Lakeland is a good place to start, with lots of varied habitat and seascapes as well so we can pick up species found at the sea!

Whilst both butterflies and moths dislike the wet and wind and can be migratory, butterflies have clubbed antennae whilst moths don't.  Interestingly, their wings are made up of a series of scales, which is why if you pick up a dead one they often disintegrate and why old ones may have ragged edges to their wings. In terms of our Friends of the Lake District land, we can expect to see different species between the woodland areas, the grasslands and the upland limestone common at Little Asby. As is so often the case with nature, they often like things land managers don't want - ragwort, thistles and willow herb being good examples!

Pictured: Searching for elusive moths and butterflies on the Helm near Kendal

Given the weather was awful we were lucky to see a painted lady, a meadow brown, and grass moth. We marveled at pictures of a plume moth that resembles a bit of hair stuck on a wire, and weren’t sure whether an elephant hawk moth, pink and green and having a wingspan of 45-60mm would be a thing to be in awe of or scared of if we had come across one which we didn't! 

Pictured: Success as a 'Painted Lady' butterfly is captured and identified at the Helm near Kendal

We have just sent some draft text to our wonderful designer Sophie to come up with some design templates for our new suite of property leaflets, and a new range of themed leaflets. The idea is that we will develop these over the next couple of years so that each piece of land has a property leaflet to sit alongside its own virtual tour, and relevant themed leaflets, e.g. on hay meadow flower identification, trees, lichens, butterflies etc., all detailing things you may see or want to look out for on each bit of land. All this information will be on our website, downloadable and hopefully accessible via mobile when on site. We are starting with the High Borrowdale property leaflet and hay meadow flowers themed leaflets as a trial, hopefully to be out later this year!