Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary by Gili Armson
Common White Beam by Gili Armson
Round Leafed Sundew by Kayleigh Roebuck
Green Hairstreak by Kayleigh Roebuck
White Spotted Sable by David Morris
Wolf Spider by Clare Matthews
Drinker Moth Caterpillar by John Finnan
Common Lizard by Kayleigh Roebuck
Longhorn Beetles by Kayleigh Roebuck
Everyone was very upbeat about visiting reserves, new to some, with the chance of seeing species, not previously identified. One member immediately donned her waterproof trousers, “just in case”, usually a harbinger of sunny weather! Many of the group usually spend their time, looking upwards, scanning the trees for birds, whereas today would be spent mainly staring intently at the ground..!!
We started at Whitbarrow, Township Allotment and headed off through the wood. In almost the first clearing that we came to, we found a Duke of Burgundy butterfly, who patiently sat, as everyone took photographs. This was one of the “Star Species” for the Workshop, so got the day off to a flying start! (No pun intended!) This was closely followed by another rarity, a White Spotted Sable, a local day flying moth, which frequents limestone pavements around Morecambe Bay. So, we were on a roll! The Greater Butterfly Orchid, Early Purple Orchid, Common Spotted Orchid, Common Twayblade Orchid and Dark Red Helleborine were also all found on the reserve. Amongst other key flora, were Limestone Oak Fern and Rusty-back Fern, plus Common Whitebeam, flowering beautifully. There were numerous Yellow Meadow Ant nests but not a Green Woodpecker in sight! One of the group took a keen interest in the droppings of various mammals and everyone came away more enlightened about which mammals had visited the reserve before us!
So after lunch we headed for Meathop Moss, where we had excellent views of the Ospreys, Tree Pipit and Redpoll. We heard a Cuckoo in the distance and witnessed an altercation between a Jay and a Buzzard. Another “Star Species” was sighted; the Green Hairstreak Butterfly. Some members of the group tasted last year’s cranberries and people remarked on how tiny and widespread the Round Leafed Sundew is. There were numerous different types of Bee; we identified Tree Bumblebee and Orange Tailed Bumblebee. The Common Lizards kept darting off the boardwalk as we approached and the various Damselflies were busying themselves, as the sun started to break through the clouds. (So the waterproof trousers had had their desired effect!)
So, with the sun coming out even more strongly, we headed for Latterbarrow for our final stop of the day. The butterflies were taking full advantage of the good weather and we saw Small-bordered Fritillary, Large Skipper, Green Veined White, Speckled Wood and Peacock, as well as another appearance of the White Spotted Sable Moth. The find of the day had to be one sole specimen of Fly Orchid. One member of the group stopped to have a chat with the leader and after a couple of minutes looked down, querying what the plant next to their feet was? Just as well, they stood still! With binoculars or a good camera lens it is easy to see how the Fly Orchid got its name!
So, the day was drawing to a close as a Wolf Spider with an egg sack, also created a great amount of interest.
Members of the group got to their feet from various positions of kneeling or lying on the ground, from trying to get close-up images. They headed back to their cars, to go home, with the intention of identifying all of the species that they had captured on camera that day. Everyone was keen to stress how much they had enjoyed the day and how much they had learnt.
How much must we normally miss, walking past, without noticing…….?!
Thank you to Gili Armson, John Finnan, Clare Matthews, David Morris, Kayleigh Roebuck, and Graham Thomas for supplying the photos and to David Morris for his never ending enthusiasm for the natural world.
Field Trip Organiser