Cars were left at Leighton Moss - the plan was to walk to Gait Barrows for the flora, and then spend some time at Leighton Moss for the birds.
The route took us first to Hawes Water - a delightful small lake, surrounded by woodland with numerous reeds at the northern end, where a Reed Bunting was spotted. Just before the lake, a number of large Brown Hawker dragonflies in a roadside field.
|Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
|Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)
One of the specialities of limestone areas in northern England, was also found there - the beautiful and delicate Bird's-eye Primrose. While it is found only in limestone regions, it also needs moist, acidic conditions, so it is not (generally) found in the limestone pavements, but may be nearby as in this case.
|Bird's-eye Primrose (Primula farinosa)
Another species often found in these habitats....
Another speciality of limestone regions, the unusual Herb Paris, was found near the northern entrance to the reserve.
The original plan to spend time wandering around Leighton Moss was overambitious - there was so much to see here (and the 'leader' kept losing his way!). Time was still spent at Leighton Moss, but in the cafe, rather than the hides. Still managed to spot a couple of Marsh Harriers and find Skullcap.
Other species seen includes: Hart's-tongue fern, Chicory, Hemp-agrimony, Common Rock-rose, Juniper, Dog's Mercury, St. John's-Wort,Yellow and White Water-lily, Enchanter's-nightshade, Quaking-grass, Meadowsweet, Wild Strawberry, Wood Avens and Trailing Tormentil.
An excellent day - we were very fortunate to have had the best weather for some time.