WFV, Foulshaw Moss and Latterbarrow, 13 June 2017

Drinker Moth CaterpillarDrinker Moth CaterpillarWe returned to Foulshaw Moss a month earlier than our visit last year. 

Last year our timing was for fledged osprey chicks, whilst today it was all about the insects. Although it was a rather overcast day, warming up later in the afternoon, we did see a couple of the specialist butterflies and other insects. Large Heath butterflies were active over the bog where its caterpillar’s foodplant, Hare’s-tail Cottongrass, grows. We spent an excited 10 minutes watching a newly emerged dragonfly perched above it's exuviae, thinking it might be the rare White-faced Darter. However, as it showed itself more clearly, we identified it as a Four Spotted Chaser, and had to accept the White-faced Darter would encourage us to make a visit in another year (also a new section of boardwalk to be explored in the future).

The Azure Damselfly was the only other Odonata seen today, but other insects included an obliging Drinker Moth caterpillar on the boardwalk, an attractive Longhorn Beetle and Gold Swift and Grass Wave moths.

There were several sedges in the bog that we do not come across very often; Bottle Sedge, Hop Sedge and Tussock Sedge. Marsh Cinquefoil was seen in a number of places as we circled the reserve on the boardwalk. The diminutive Cranberry, both with flower and fruit, was creeping through areas that also supported Bog Rosemary. Bog Myrtle, Sundew, lichens, Crossed-leaved Heath and Narrow Buckler Fern added to the floral mix. 88 species were recorded in flower or fruit. 

Through the Cumbria Wildlife Trust telescope, we could see an adult Osprey perched on the nest but no aerial action today. CWT believe chicks have hatched as they think they have seen feeding taking place. We had good views of Redpolls near the raised platform. Other birds seen and heard included Reed Bunting, Blackcap and Tit species.

We then made a short hop across the A590 to Latterbarrow Reserve, a contrasting habitat of limestone grassland. The gentle hillside was covered in flowers, with areas of beautiful rock ‘gardens’ on the outcrops. Numerous examples of Common Spotted Orchid and several slightly aged Greater Butterfly Orchid were seen. Common Rock Rose, Aquilegia, Common Gromwell, Cut-leaved Cranesbill and Lady's Bedstraw were just some of the 80 species in flower. And with flowers come butterflies; Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Northern Brown Argus, Large Skipper and Meadow Brown were on the wing. 

Before our journey home we refreshed ourselves with drinks at the Derby Arms and ice cream from the Witherslack Community Shop.  You can see the photos in the gallery

Julia

 

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