Foulshaw Moss and Meathop Moss

Pond at Foulshaw

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.

 Foulshaw Moss 

Whilst there’s potentially a wealth of wildlife to spot here, the most notable inhabitants on my recent evening visit were the damselflies.

Large Red Damselfly 

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. 

Large Red Damselfly III 

Large Red Damselfly IV

The blue damselflies were much more brazen, with clouds of them occupying prominent positions across a bush or some reeds.

Azure damselfly I 

Azure damselfly II 

Since there are several species of blue damselfly I’m usually very tentative in any identification.

Azure damselfly on bog myrtle

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….

P6143033

…I’m not sure…a female?

P6142998

I’ve had no luck with the identity of this fly or this…

Unidentified Moth

….delicately pretty small moth.

But I think that this…

Broken-barred Carpet?

…might be a broken-barred carpet moth.

 P6143048

I guess that this is a hoverfly, but that’s as far as I’ve got.

Bog myrtle flower (?)

Male catkin, bog myrtle.

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.

P6143078 

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….

Meathop Moss Boardwalk, views to Cartmell Fell 

…with the kind of plants you would associate with that environment.

Like…

Sundew 

Sundew.

Cranberry 

Cranberries 

Cranberries.

Bilberry 

Bilberries.

Seadhead 

And others which I don’t know, like this grass.

This had me flummoxed…

Mystery flower 

…but…

Mystery flower II 

…I’m now thinking that it’s cross-leaved heather, and that these flowers aren’t open yet.

Another mystery flower 

These curious green-yellow flowers (?) are still puzzling me.

A curled leaf on a low shrub attracted my attention; inside this attractive spider…

Spider in rolled leaf 

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.

Tents 

No residents evident, so I tore one open and found lots of small caterpillars…

Tent caterpillar

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Foulshaw Moss and Meathop Moss

8 thoughts on “Foulshaw Moss and Meathop Moss

  1. llendorin says:

    Your female Damselfly is, I believe, a female common blue damselfly.

    What tree species were the ermine moth caterpillars on? That’s normally the best way to tell which species of moth they are. They tend to cover the whole tree in silken webs, devour all the foliage, then move on to the next one.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks for that!
      I’ve seen whole trees encased in caterpillar webs, years ago by the river Lune up near Tebay in the Lune Gorge. I wish I’d had the sense to think about what the trees were. It was a hedge, grown out into low trees, but not obvious hedgerow species like blackthorn or hawthorn. It was a damp area, could be alder? I’m guessing, I’m afraid.

  2. We had a plague of caterpillars in our garden in Hilton once. Really creepy to see whole bushes completely covered and then stripped bare when they’d finished. Like a scene froma Sci-Fi movie

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