Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Stumpy and Friends


After the recent downpours the weather gods smiled upon us and we decided to really push our luck and head north to Leighton Moss.

Basically Leighton Moss is a deservedly popular RSPB reserve located in one of the most wildlife rich areas of the country. However 99% of its visitor's appear to be blissfully ignorant and are happy to rush along from one hide to the next.

Following the hide based discussions I’m now an expert on the regeneration of Glasgow and bird-watching in Goa. Considering the amount of noise it’s surprising that 3 Otters, a Red Deer, an Osprey, 2 Marsh Harriers and 12 Greenshank hadn’t found somewhere quieter to go.

Other highlights included the Bladderwort flowering in one of the pools to the east of the causeway, Jew’s Ear fungi, a yet to be identified bizarre looking orange fungus and the partially parasitic Eyebright growing along the footpath edges


Jew's Ear fungi

Jew’s Ear fungi

Unknown fungi

Unidentified fungus




Later in the afternoon we decided to give the Morecambe bay hides a miss and headed over to Gait Barrows to catch up with the Common Lizards.

Common Lizard

Male Common Lizard

Common Lizard

Female Common Lizard

Common Lizard with regrown tail

Stumpy or the lizard that got away, shed its tail and grew another.

Immature Common Lizard

Young Common Lizard

Common Lizards

Female Common Lizard and young

Monday, 8 August 2011

Highfield Moss


A real hidden gem on the outskirts of Lowton, near Wigan and for at least the past 160 years the home to a colony of Marsh Gentians. See page 36 of Buxton's Botanical Guide: Original text

Unfortunately Baguley Moor the only other colony Buxton referred to within Greater Manchester became part of the largest council estate in western Europe.

Marsh GentianMarsh GentianMarsh Gentians

Also plenty of Round leaved Sundews, Western Gorse, Heath Groundsel, and Common Fumitory. Birdlife included Yellowhammers, Linnets, Corn Buntings, House Martins and Swallows.

SundewWestern GorseCommon Fumitory

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Broad leaved Helleborine’s

A good year for the local Orchids.
Initially there was 23 flower spikes developing from April onwards. 14 were mown out by the Mersey Valley Warden Service/Manchester City Council with all but 1 of the remaining 9 developing and coming into flower over the past week.
Typically the flower colour varies from very pale to a deeper pink however the inside of the “cup” is always a rich red colour.
Broad leaved Helleborine
A typical pale version of the Broad leaved Helleborine
Broad leaved Helleborine
Broad leaved Helleborine
The more common pink version.
Since making the Wardens aware of their location the edges to the various footpaths haven’t been mown out. Hopefully they should now get the opportunity to set seed and spread a bit further throughout the woodland.