Sunday 3rd July 2016 - Gait Barrows

The trip had been planned for Saturday, but the weather forecast was much better on Sunday so we re-scheduled - a good choice!

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.

Hawes Water
Hawes Water
Around the edge two Common-spotted and one fragrant orchid were found:

Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea)
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)
Typical limestone pavement scenery of Gait Barrows. We did find the re-introduced Lady's Slipper Orchid near here, but it had already finished flowering.

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.

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