Labels: Bird's Eye Primrose, Chimney Sweeper Moth, Garden Warbler, Greater Butterfly Orchid, Melancholy Thistle, Northern Brown Argus, Tree Pipit
Last Saturday I joined the ranks of the Newcastle RSPB group for a trip to Smardale Gill near Kirby Stephen not only had I not been there I had never heard of it and initially thought we where going to Yorkshire ?, well a quick look ont net soon put me right . Stopping at Kirby Stephen for the loos Brian the Killy Birder blogger pointed out a Scarlet Macaw sitting on an Ariel and a further two nearby , I was astounded to hear they where free flying and breeding , what a surprise start to the day, shortly after we arrived at the entrance to Smardale Gill the walk is mainly along an old rail track which is fairly level and the cuttings covered in wild flowers and grasses , with Ringlets and Meadow Browns evident .
The usual evidence or railway life with the remnants of a signal box , Quarry , Lime Kilns and an absolutely fabulous viaduct and some fantastic views of the surrounding countryside, not sure how many there where of us but everyone was enthusiastic debating over the I.D. of flowers and passing Butterflies .Near the Quarry we encountered the first Northern Brown Argus and immediately wished I had brought my DSLR as there was no way I was going to get photos with my compact , plenty of Common Blues also here and nearby I noticed a Chimney Sweeper Moth. Walking just over the viaduct and then turning back to a path down to the side we headed back to the start this is a bit steeper walk but it does give great views back onto the viaduct, and leads you over an old pack horse bridge , looking down into the water we saw hundreds of small Brown Trout.
The walk was 6 1/2 miles long it's well worth a visit perhaps to coincide with the emergence of the Scotch Argus , or other Orchids like Bird's Nest & Fragrant, very good day out !!