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 days...it'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. ♂)