Friday, 22 June 2012

Catcott Heath Trip report

Monday, 18th June 2012
(Leader: Lis Allen)

Catcott Heath is a Somerset Trust Nature Reserve on the Somerset Levels. A very small group met here on an unusually fine day after weeks of rain.As we walked along the track to the Reserve, we enjoyed a varied selection of late song from many Warblers (Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Cetti’s Warbler, Common Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, and Blackcap), as well as from Robin, Wren and Goldfinch. Swallows zoomed over the meadows, a Buzzard circled overhead, and on the newly cut water channel we spotted Heron, Little Egret and Shelduck.  And here one of our new members spotted our first target species, a Variable Damselfly, sharing a leaf with two Azure Damselflies, enabling the differences to be clearly seen.  Azure and Common Blue Damselflies were there in greater numbers.The Reserve itself was flooded in places, so we had to pick our way carefully through the water and sodden peat and the vegetation which had grown up so much due to the  past weeks’almost continuous heavy rain. But the sun had encouraged out the insects, midges and mosquitoes in profusion, but others we had hoped to see - two  Emperor Dragonflies, a female Black-tailed Skimmer and a Four-spot Chaser. Many of the Lesser Spearwort flowers hosted the small but striking iridescent green beetle Oedemera nobilis,  and the leaf beetle Donacia vulgaris basked on other waterside plants.  At the far end of the Reserve, we searched the pools, where we failed to find the Great Raft Spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus). But we were rewarded here by seeing Marsh Cinquefoil,Marsh Fern and Greater Bladderwort.Back in the open part of the Reserve,  we added to the day’s insect sightings with Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Green-veined White, Small Tortoiseshell and a female Brimstone Butterfly; plus a great selection of  day-flying moths – Straw Dot, Small China-mark, Yellow Shell , Common Carpet,Crambus lathoniellus, Crambus pascuella and Adela reaumurella of the long antennae. All worth braving the mosquitoes for!

 [EA]
Thank you Lis

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