We were last there in January, when we helped cut back some bushes to create a scallop (a sheltered spot for butterflies and wild flowers). We also picked up some Dark Mullein seeds to grow, the foodplant for the caterpillars of the Striped lychnis moth, a nationally scarce moth that's found on the reserve.
The rain stopped as we arrived, so we had a look through the nettles and dock leaves while we waited for everybody to arrive. We found all sorts of treasures!
|Small tortoiseshell caterpillar|
|Dock leaf beetles|
|Dock leaf beetle larvae|
|Beetle eggs (maybe dock leaf beetle eggs)|
|Long-jawed orb weaver spider|
|There were plenty of slugs and snails out in the rain|
|The scallop in January|
|The scallop today|
We walked through the meadows, which were bursting with kidney vetch, horseshoe vetch, ox-eye daisies, yellow rattle, dropwort and all sorts of other wonderful flowers. As if by magic the sun came out for a few minutes and suddenly common blues appeared from the grass and starting flying all around us. We also saw a few meadow browns and some more small blues. What a wonderful place!
|Common blues enjoying a brief glimpse of sunshine|
|Bug Mad Girl stalked some butterflies|
In one of them we found a Fragrant Orchid, a new species for the reserve, which had been identified earlier in the day by a couple of botanists carrying out a plant survey.
|Fragrant orchid, just starting to flower|
|Red-headed Cardinal Beetle|
|Nursery Web Spider|