Recorder: Catherine Jones Walk Time =
The craggy heights of Whitcliife Scar are know as a Northern Brown Argus site but there is a Dark Green Fritillary site nearby so occasional Dark Green Fritillaries fly past plus Wall Browns are in good numbers.
Warning: this transect is on extremely rough and high terrain with very large drops in places next to the narrow path. It is hard to walk unless you're wearing suitable footwear and are able to scramble in muddy or eroded areas.
The route starts on farmland high above the River Swale and proceeds south to the scar in S2 then, after patches of hillside scrub, you enter broad leaved woodland followed by a rather precarious scar top path along S3.
After doubling back the path, which is very eroded, goes through more scrub in S4 and areas of unimproved limestone grassland in places with scrub in sections S5 to S7, followed by road for S8 and S9.
S1 is dominated by Small Heath in large numbers but the road verges of S8 are usually the best area with large numbers of Small Heaths, Meadow Browns, Ringlets and Whites. The Small Copper prefer S5-6 and the Speckled Wood S2 and S4 along with Peacock and Red Admiral in the woodlands.
Even without the migrant Painted Lady numbers were a bit down with significant losses of Small Copper and Green-veined White, which may well be due to the drought conditions of early spring. Migrant Red Admirals held up well, as did Small Tortoiseshell having a good year. Small Heath numbers continue to rise strongly. Ringlet numbers are well down after a hot summer of 2019 and the drought of 2020.