Lake District Wildlife
Ambleside, Central Lakes

Details for Lake District Wildlife

Red Squirrels in Cumbria
Lakeland Wildlife

The Lake District supports a vast and diverse range of wildlife. From small mammals to fish, birds, insects and flora, the area is just teeming with wonderful and sometimes very rare species. Walking in the fells or around the lakes is an absolute delight for nature lovers.

Curiously perhaps, the purer a lake is, the poorer it is in plant and animal life. So the clear and remote lakes such as Wast Water have less to interest the amateur naturalist than shallow and murky but mineral-rich lakes such as Esthwaite Water. In the poorest lakes, for instance, plant life consists mainly of algae and primitive quillwort, whereas the more silty lakes will add bulrushes, various pondweeds, and sometimes water lilies in sheltered bays.

One popular highlight is the water lobelia, flowering in fine lilac profusion in midsummer. In the animal food chain, lowly links include the freshwater shrimp, tiny leeches and flatworms and mayfly larvae. Of the lake fish, minnows and stickleback are widespread, and three related game fish too - salmon and sea trout (migrating to or from the sea), and the char. The richer lakes support eels, perch and pike as well. Two other coarse fish, roach and rudd, were probably introduced by anglers. There are two famous rarities, now protected species – the schelly, found in Ullswater and Haweswater, and the vendace, formley unique to Derwent Water and Bassenthwaite Lake.

Though now reintroduced into Scotland. Lakelands aquatic mammals, such as the water vole and water shrew, generally prefer beck’s (stony brooks) to lakes, though the lucky visitor may occasionally spot an otter cavorting in a quite tarn or lake bay.

Far more conspicuous is the Lake’s bird life. Three great avian...


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