Saturday 26th May 2012 - Chartley Moss NNR

Today I did something completly different and went with fellow British wildlife enthusiast (and supporter of inferior Midlands football teams) Mark P to an organized event at Chartley Moss National Nature Reserve in Staffordshire.

Chartley Moss NNR is the largest example of a floating peat bog, in Britain. The Sphagnum lawn supports important botanical communities adapted to grow in this hostile environment which in turn support a rich invertebrate fauna, including the nationally scarce White-faced Darter dragonfly.  The reserve is only opened to the public once a year for guided walks due to the sensitive nature of the habitat.

The weather conditions were almost ideal as the sunshine over the past week had meant that good numbers of dragonflies and damselflies had emerged...although the stronger breeze today made them very difficult to photograph!  We did however get great views of White-faced Darter ...a lifer for me!  As they were recently emerged though their facial frons hadn't whitened off as yet.  There were also Four-spotted Chasers and Broad-bodied Chasers on the wing.  Large Red Damselflies were also very much in evidence.

Also of interest were good numbers of Green Hairstreak that were present flitting around the wooded scrubby edge of the bog.  These are such beautiful butterflies and always a pleasure to see.  Amongst the Sphagnum moss there were patches of Britain's only carnivorous plant Sundew growing.

Unfortunately we didn't see any of Chartley's other speciality the day-flying Argent and Sable moth, but an enjoyable couple of hours was had all the same. 

I recommend that, if ever you get chance, visit the moss on one of these's a fascinating place.  Wellies are recommended though as the Sphagnum moss that cover the peat is like a sponge and in some places your feet will sink 3 or 4 inches into the bog (that's about 70 to 100 mm for you metric types!).  Today wasn't a good day for my boots to start letting in!!!!

Chartley Moss NNR

Sundew and Sphagnum
White-faced Darter (imm. ♂)
Green Hairstreak


  1. Cracking set of shots, Jason. Oh!!! to go somewhere different.

  2. Thanks Dean,

    It wasn't an area I really new about until Mark (doorstep birding) told me about the event he had found on the web. It was a free walk so it was just a case of getting there (some 40 miles away). He very kindly didnt charge me for I will drive somewhere another day.

  3. It sounds like a great visit Jason with plenty of interest. Well done on the White-faced Darter!

  4. A wildlife paradise by the sounds of it Jase :-) I love those Green hairstreaks, they really are beautiful Flutters, only ever had one here once :-(

  5. New boots for you then, lol. Beautiful White-faced Darter and Green Hairstreak! Nice one.

  6. What a treat Jason and you have taken some super images! Good to read about new areas and a peat bog is certainly different. Congrats with the White-faced Darter!

    I walked around Cors Fochno (Borth Bog) last year and thoroughly enjoyed it, have you ever been there?

  7. That does look an interesting habitat, Jason. White-faced Darter - never even heard of that one. The texture and colour of the Green Hairstreak are superb.

  8. 2 hours flew by didn't it Jase, I could have dug in and spent all day mooching about

  9. Jan - Thankyou...I was dead pleased

    Warren - It was an amazing habitat Warren...the likes of which we don't have in worcestershire. I agree about Green butterflies, but one I've never recorded at Shenstone

    Omi - Definitely need new boots if I ever visit again!!!

    Pam - It was nice to experience a different habitat and what it had to offer. No I've never been to Borth Bog...where is that located?

    Rob - it was a fascinating place!

    Mark - I agree. May go again next year but do the morning session so I can hang around afterwards...interested?

  10. Hi Jason, Cors Fochno is the official name for Borth Bog, I have added a link to my Blog post, if it! As you will see you need a permit to walk around the bog but it is easily attainable.

  11. Thanks Pam...will check out out later