Sunday, 29 May 2016

Foulshaw to Leighton Moss

A seemingly near perfect day for watching butterflies at Gait Barrows near Silverdale today did nothing to allay my fears for the health of the UKs butterfly populations. Hot and sunny all day with not a breath of wind, we spent two hours at the reserve and saw just a handful of species in very small numbers. Three or four pearl-borded fritillaries, two brimstones, a couple of whites, a couple of blues and a speckled wood were just about the lot. Not a single Duke of Burgandy, no green hairstreaks and no dingy skippers. There were reports of a single Duke being seen earlier in the morning, but seriously has it come to this, one butterfly seen on a perfect day in the peak flight period? More worryingly there were periods of 15 minutes or more when I didn't see a single butterfly of any species, not even a white.

It was a similar story at Trowbarrow Nature Reserve near Leighton Moss, even less butterflies here though we did at least add a couple of dingy skippers to the list. Also here, no fly orchids. Earlier we went to Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria where there were loads of large-red damselflies and a few four-spot chasers, but not a single white-faced darter.


There were two ospreys on the nest at Foulshaw and a couple of tree pipits, three spoonbills asleep on the Eric Morecombe Pools where we also saw three lesser whitethroats together and a Cetti's warbler just outside the hide.


At Gait Barrows, the plastic Lady's Slipper Orchids are currently in full flower, and are about as wild as a pelican in Cornwall.


Year: 229 (Osprey, tree pipit, nightingale (Whisby Nature Park), bearded tit (Blacktoft))


Recently emerged four-spot chaser with it exuvia.


Foulshaw Moss.


Leighton Moss.


Garden warbler.


Herb Paris at Gait Barrows.


Lesser whitethroat.



Lilly of the Valley at Gait Barrows.


Malle marsh harrier.



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