Friday, 15 July 2011

Brockholes Nature Reserve

We took a trip to Brockholes Nature Reserve on Monday. Its a huge site and the view of the floating visitor centre is very impressive as you drive up to it, like some Viking Settlement with its shingled roofs turning a lovely silver in the sun. There are three lakes/ponds, marshy areas, dry grassland and woodlands to explore and a childrens play area. Lots of Butterflies, Bees and Hoverflies feeding on the plentiful wild flowers. With the aid of my well thumbed  field guide to flowers , I think there was Ladies Bedstraw, Thale Cress, Common Mallow, Tufted Vetch, Meadowsweet, Enchanters Nightshade, Wild Carrot, Wild mint, Yellow Wort, Yellow Rattle, Honeysuckle, Devils Bit Scabious, Corn Chamomile (it smelt like the tea), Orchids and some wonderful tall Scotch Thistles. After a walk we had a coffee at the visitor centre -  sat on the terrace overlooking the lake in the hot sun made us feel a little bit like we were on a cruise in the Nile (Lancashire accents aside).  Theres also a small deli and gift shop which sells bird food, so we stocked up before heading home.
Meadow Brown


Brockholes Visitor Centre



Friday, 8 July 2011

Honeysuckle Sawfly Zaraea fasciata

We saw this crawling around at the base of the honeysuckle in our garden. We looked it up on the web and its quite rare. Apparently the larvae live and graze on honeysuckle leaves. We wondered if it had just emerged from pupating as it was lethargic. We also saw a Humming Bird Hawkmoth in the garden but it was too active for us to get a photo.

Honeysuckle Sawfly

Thursday, 7 July 2011

Leighton Moss

We had a lovely afternoon at Leighton Moss last week and saw some fantastic views of Marsh Harriers. As soon as we'd parked up we could hear the raucous calls of the Black headed Gulls and could see them wheeling overhead. Went to watch them at Lillians hide and also the large numbers of Coots that had gathered with young of various ages. At the Eric Morecambe hide we were treated to the sight of a Stoat running along the far bank setting off a flock of Black Tailed Godwits. Once they'd spotted it they all turned and ran towards it - smart really keeping a potential predator in view and must be quite intimidating to have a flock of birds running at you. Saw Avocet, Greenshank and Oystercatchers one of which was lying on its back in the sun - sunbathing? We went to the next hide along and the Stoat turned up again, investigating holes in the bank, probably for voles. On a little island we watched one adult Heron with two very teenage looking young, wilting in the sun, eventually one lay down in the grass. Late afternoon at the Causeway hide and we saw Marsh Harriers making food passes and some spectacular stoops. I think we also saw a Black Tailed Skimmer sunning itself on the hide, no expert though, but using a very useful FSC guide to Dragonflies we'd just bought in the shop!

Marsh Harrier

Black Tailed Godwits 

Black Tailed Skimmer ( I think)