Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Meadows and dragons

Makes me quiver with excitement - June meadows.  Mix in a visit to lakes, swarming with dragonflies and damselflies being chased by hungry hobbies and you have yourself a good day out.

Alder carr woodland with yellow flag irises & biting insects (not in shot!)

Yellow flag iris

Alder carr is woodland on damp, inundated soil; it is a swampy habitat, full of interesting and biting insects, and fascinating plants.  Willows and alders dominate, but in open areas orchids mix with irises, rushes, marsh valerian, willow-herbs and other bog plants.

Dragonflies patrol territories, along with hundreds blue damselflies resting on leaves and then taking to the wing in a blue haze, as you approach.

Four spot chaser dragonfly

F-S chaser in flight

F-S chaser at rest

F-S chasers at rest

Male common blue damselflies in flight

Female common blue damselfly with insect prey item

The day was partly spent in a hide watching hobbies catching dragonflies in  an amazing display of skilful flying.  The other birds of note were a marsh harrier and calling cuckoo - no bittern today.

Whilst standing on a bridge a ripple in the water, some way off, caught my eye .  I managed to photograph what I thought was a grass snake.  I was not sure until I looked at the images on my pc.  This is a small individual, showing how its body propels it across the water,.  Water isan environment that they are very happy in.

Small grass snake

On the other side of the bridge I could see some fish...

A large pike (top right) eyeing up two small perch

A little egret, some grebes with young and these black-tailed godwits were also nice to see.

Black-tailed godwits resting in amongst the reeds

Painted lady resting on a fence

We were on the Natural England NNR - Shapwick Heath.  A considerable amount has been dug  out for peat, but there are also mouth watering meadows still grazed and rich with wild flowers.  This is why you should NOT buy peat!!!  Buy peat and lose these flowers for a lifetime.

Meadow flowers

Southern marsh orchid

Oxeye daisies

Meadow flowers

Meadows flowers



Oaks and buttercups

Oaks and buttercups

Thank you Natural England (formerly English Nature, formerly Nature Conservancy Council, formerly Nature Conservancy...!).


  1. Just poppped by for a fresh air taster of the countryside - as usual you have captured the beauty of what we townies are missing. Saw a grass snake at Virginia Water last week - now I see that it swims too

    all the best


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