30 Days Wild – Day 26

As I was away I missed the Mass Lobby of parliament under “The Time is Now” banner to lobby about The Environment Act and The Nature Recovery Network. The turn-out was good and a fair number of MPs did come out to talk with the lobbyists, if they understood the need for action sufficiently that if will to lead to real action, only time will tell.

Meanwhile I got to spend the morning out in the dunes at Braunton Burrows NNR, fewer people but more military training.

One feature that could not be missed was the number of painted lady butterflies, they were everywhere! However it was not one of those that caught my attention nectaring on a stray buddleja bush, but a dark-green fritillary.

dark-green fritillary

dark-green fritillary

The Burrows are an amazing place to visit, huge dunes with wet dunes slacks between, stabilised so that there is a rich and varied vegetation. The outer edges run onto a large sandy beach, with lost of species of more mobile habitats. I came across one plant I did not recognise, which turned out to be hound’s tongue.

hound's tongue

hound’s tongue (thanks to Ian Ralphs for the ID)

The dune slacks are very good for orchids, we saw pyramidal orchid, marsh orchid, early marsh orchid and, my favourite, marsh heleborine.

IMG_3987

marsh heleborine

My stay in Devon was all too brief though and in the afternoon we headed home, a brief stop in a lay-by did yield a very smart large skipper, only my third this year!

large skipper

large skipper

30 Days Wild – Day 3

On day three and still in Pembrokeshire with its famous beaches and rocky coastline, a day by the beach was called for and no day at the beach is complete without a bit of rock-pooling. Along with a spectacular variety of seaweeds we found anemones, lots of molluscs and lots of prawns, I think this one is a common prawn.

prawn

common prawn

Lots of the sandy beaches in West Wales are backed by dune systems, these are wonderfully rich habitats and behind Freshwater West beach is one with a wet pool known as a “slack”, in addition the stabilised sand now has a rich flora including early marsh orchid and southern marsh orchid.

marsh orchid

Southern marsh orchid growing in a flower-rich dune slack.

I also came across a robber-fly that was new to me and it turns out is a specialist occupier of grassy areas in fixed dunes, favouring slightly worn areas along paths, which was exactly where I pictured this one.

robberfly

Fan-bristled robberfly (Dysmachus trigonus)