Sunday, 28 June 2015

Whixall Moss

I took a trip away from Batch Valley yesterday afternoon to Whixall Moss. This is an absolutely fabulous site, and though I have been several times before I have not been at quite the right time of year for my main target - White-faced Darter Leuchorrhinia dubia. The trip proved to be highly successful and I had fabulous views of a male, though it avoided my best attempts to photograph it.

I did manage to photograph some of the other species on show. Raft Spider Dolomedes fimbriatus is a real speciality of the site. A species with a very restricted distribution in the UK, this is quite easy to find here and I found one in the first place I looked for it. They have a habitat of sitting motionless on the waters surface, waiting for prey to come past them.

Raft Spider Dolomedes fimbriatus

Another of the real specialities of the site is the Large Heath Coenonympha tullia, which is restricted to boggy habitats in parts of Britain and Ireland. These are abundant at Whixall Moss, but virtually impossible to photograph as they move away at the slightest approach or nestle down in treacherous bog. Eventually one settled in some bracken for a reasonable, if slightly obscured, photograph.

Large Heath Coenonympha tullia

Around the dragonfly pools I found some Round-leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia. This carnivorous plant is covered with glues and acids to trap and then dissolve insect prey, and it seemed to be working out badly for this unfortunate insect attracted to the sugary, sticky solution on the tentacles.

Round-leaved Sundew Drosera rotundifolia
I also found this nice little fly Broad Centurion Chloromyla formosa. Though a common species, I was pleased to get a photograph of it.

Broad Centurion Chlormyla formosa

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