Two nature reserves, which, as the crow flies, are close to home, but being on the other side of the Kent estuary, have mainly passed under my radar until recently. Foulshaw Moss figures prominently as a vast yellow expanse in the winter view from Arnside Knott.
Whilst there’s potentially a wealth of wildlife to spot here, the most notable inhabitants on my recent evening visit were the damselflies.
The large red damselflies were numerous. but quite hard to spot since they seemed to prefer a partially concealed perch, under a leaf or in the midst of a clump of reed or grass stems.
The blue damselflies were much more brazen, with clouds of them occupying prominent positions across a bush or some reeds.
Since there are several species of blue damselfly I’m usually very tentative in any identification.
But I’m reasonably confident that these are azure damselflies, the U shape on the second abdominal segment is the give away. There were some blue-tailed damselflies about too, but they were very wary of me and my camera.
As for this one….
…I’m not sure…a female?
I’ve had no luck with the identity of this fly or this…
….delicately pretty small moth.
But I think that this…
…might be a broken-barred carpet moth.
I guess that this is a hoverfly, but that’s as far as I’ve got.
Male catkin, bog myrtle.
There’s quite a bit of bog myrtle about. It has a wonderful pungent aroma when the leaves are brushed. Apparently it was used to add bitterness to beer in the days before hops were used. (And, I’ve discovered, Fraoch’s scrumptious Heather Ale uses bog myrtle as a well as heather.)
Meathop Moss is, like Foulshaw, a raised mire, with sphagnum moss retaining water and creating peat – up to a depth of six metres apparently.
Vegas-era-Elvis insect. You’d think this would be distinctive enough for me to be able to find it in my field guide. You’d think.
Meathop looks more like a sphagnum bog than Foulshaw….
…with the kind of plants you would associate with that environment.
And others which I don’t know, like this grass.
This had me flummoxed…
…I’m now thinking that it’s cross-leaved heather, and that these flowers aren’t open yet.
These curious green-yellow flowers (?) are still puzzling me.
A curled leaf on a low shrub attracted my attention; inside this attractive spider…
The hedgerow near the entrance to the reserve (with it’s contradictory notices “Welcome” and “Members Only”, I chose to believe the former) was liberally arrayed in small silken nests.
No residents evident, so I tore one open and found lots of small caterpillars…