Sunday, 31 July 2016

A walk at Arnside

This is one of our favourite walks, from the promenade at Arnside along the river to Blackstone Point, then around Arnside Park to Far Arnside and back over the Knott. The views are spectacular and there is so much wildlife to see, even on the promenade in Arnside where I found several nice ferns growing in the walls.

Maidenhair fern Adiantum raddianum. Quite a rarity in the UK, Morecombe Bay is very much an outpost for this plant which here is on the very north of its range.

Maidenhair Spleenwort Asplenium trichomanes.

Hart's-tongue Fern Asplenium scolopendrium.

Western Polypody Polypodium hesperium.

Western Polypody differs from common polypody Polypodium vulgare in that it has lanceolate fronds rather than triangular, and the sori are oval rather than round.

Western Polypody sori.

Rustyback Asplenium ceterach.

Turn over a frond and you can see why it's called rustyback.

Wall-rue Asplenium ruta-muraria.

Continuing our walk past Blackstone Point we came to a bay at White Creek with various saltmarsh grasses and sedges including Spartina angelica and sea club-rush Scirpus maritimus and a small patch of common sea lavender Limonium vulgare.

White Creek.

Spartina anglica

Common sea lavender.

Having seen short-winged conehead bush-crickets at Marshside yesterday, I decided to have a quick look at their favoured habitat, patches of sea club-rush, to see if they were here as well. Almost immediately I managed to find one. They don't go much further north than this.

Then it was onto the Knott where we found plenty of Scotch argus butterflies on the wing. The coneheads might be at the northern edge of their range, but the Scotch Argus don't go much further south! There can't be many places in the UK where you can see the two species on the same short walk.

Betony Stachys officinalis.

Common bird's-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Spoonbills, Burton Mere Wetlands

It's been a good year for spoonbills, I've had a few sightings of small flocks of several individuals at a number of places including Leighton Moss, Saltholme and Titchwell, but nine at Burton Mere Wetlands today was a new high. Also today ok views of a juvenile spotted crake and a green sandpiper.

Year: 240 (Spotted crake)

Wednesday, 27 July 2016


A nice selection of waders at Cemlyn bay on Anglesey today, 3 whimbrel, 2 greenshank, common sandpiper, 20 redshank, 2 curlew, 2 black tailed godwits, turnstone and oystercatchers. Almost ternless but still 1 or 2 Arctic and sandwich.

Meanwhile at Bull Bay a decent passage of Manx shearwaters this evening and one or two gannets, but no porpoises.

Sunday, 24 July 2016

Inverts and plants from Foulshaw Moss

Yesterday we spent virtually the whole day at Foulshaw Moss in Cumbria looking at inverts and plants. It was a slow process, and it took us five and a half hours to do two laps of the board walk! We did also visit nearby Meathop Moss for an hour, and some photos are from there as indicated in the text. It's amazing what's around when you look and below is a small selection of what we found (and I managed to photograph!). Thanks to Ray Banks for helping with the identification of many of the species, plus also the Facebook groups UK Hoverflies and Insects of Britain and Northern Europe.

Butterflies and moths

Beautiful yellow underwing

Green-veined white on creeping thistle Cirsium arvense

Large skipper on tufted vetch Vicia cracca


Helophilus trivittatus

Helophilus trivittatus

Sericomyia silentis

Probably Helophilus hybridus

Probably Eristalis horticola on meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria

Xylota segnis

Volucella pellucens (Great pied hoverfly) on meadowsweet.

Dragonflies and damselflies

Four-spot chaser on purple moorgrass Molinia caerulea

Azure damselfly 

Black darter. We eventually managed to rescue it with the help of a long stick!

Black darter

Blue-tailed damselfly

Emerald damselfly on purple moorgrass

Large red damselfly.

Flies, bees, scorpionflies and longhorn beetles

Mesembrina meridiana on soft rush Juncus effusus

Tachina grossa possibly on wild angelica Angelica sylvestris (I can't be sure from the photo).

Tachina grossa

As yet unknown

Megachile sp. a leaf cutter bee.

As yet unknown on marsh thistle Cirsium palustre

Four-banded longhorn beetles Leptura quadrifasciata on meadowsweet

Four-banded longhorn on wild angelica

Scorpionfly sp.

Adult and nymph common pond skater Gerris lacustris. This next series of photos including the green tiger beetle were taken in the Goyt Valley in Derbyshire today. They probably also occur on Foulshaw moss, but I can't be sure.

Green tiger beetle Cicindela campestris

We're now back to the Cumbrian mosses, all photos from Foulshaw moss unless otherwise stated.

Bog asphodel Narthecium ossifragum - Meathop moss

Bog-rosemary  Andromeda polifolia - Meathop moss. I was made up with this, I don't think I've ever seen this plant in flower before.

Cranberry Vaccinium oxycoccos growing in a nice patch of Sphagnum magellenicum.

Round-leaved sundew Drosera rotundifolia

White beak-sedge Rhynchospora alba

Yellow loosestrife Lysimachia vulgaris

Creeping-jenny Lysimachia nummularia


There were loads of common lizards on the boardwalk at Foulshaw moss, including many babies such as this.

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