Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Shapwick Heath - Dragons and Orchids 23/5

An early start on the Somerset Levels and a walk along the David Walker path & Sweet Track to Decoy hide at Shapwick. This walk takes in a beautiful woodland area full of grasses and ferns leading on to a lovely damp meadow with Southern Marsh Orchids, Iris and Ragged Robin. 
A few species of Dragonfly were on the wing and also perched on leaves etc, brilliant to have some great sightings of the Scarce Chaser.  From Decoy hide we had views of Great Crested Grebes, Marsh Harrier, Cuckoo, Coot and a Mute Swan with just one cygnet.  A pleasant surprise to see a fledgling Tawny Owl on top of one of the Owl boxes.  This is a wonderful walk with plenty of flora & fauna to be seen in an almost Jurassic feel woodland however it is worth noting that the area is rife with mosquitos and the meadow has ticks!
From Shapwick we drove onto Ivythorn Hill an area nearby of undisturbed grassland.  Here we found the first appearance of Common Spotted Orchids, Greater Butterfly plenty of  Twayblade.

    Crane-fly species

                   Ragged Robin in the damp meadow

    Flag Iris 
            Southern Marsh Orchid

   Southern Marsh X Heath Spotted Orchid

                   Southern Marsh Orchid

                   Southern Marsh X Heath Spotted

   Variable Damselfly

                   Large Red Damselfly 

   Scarce Chaser

                   Hairy Dragonfly

   Scarce Chaser

                  Tawny Owl 

    Good to see that the Owl box is being used

                   Scarce Chaser

   Four spotted Chaser

                   Scarce Chaser,  a beauty 

   Common Spotted Orchid

                   Greater Butterfly Orchid

   Greater Butterfly Orchid           

                   Common spotted orchid 


    Common Twayblade



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