A long while I go I booked one of Natural England’s walks onto Chartley Moss. This year I thought I’d invite Moss newbies Colin Green and Dave Gray along. So after a few anxious emails and texts to reserve manager Melanie Brown on Friday, when it was positively Baltic, I was assured White-faced Darter had started to emerge 10 days ago. The weather forecast was also set fair.
I led a bird walk in Belgrave Cemetery in the morning and after meeting up with Col and Dave we headed off into darkest Staffordshire. Fortified with sandwiches and in my case a Bacon, Sausage and Cheese Oatcake, hey when in Staffs, we met up at the reserve entrance. For anyone whose never been, while you’re in the rolling farmland it’s hard to believe that a few 100m away is a fine example of a Schwingmoor or Quaking Bog.
We soon picked up our first Odonata, my first of the year a nice Large Red Damselfly and a plenty of Green Hairstreak butterflies. These however were very much a sideshow… the White-faced Darter were emerging. I guess all the earlier adults were killed off by the recent cold (hopefully not before ovipositing) so all we saw were tenerals or Lime-faced Darter as they could be called. These smashing little odes were lifers for Col and Dave who, I think, enjoyed the trip.
At the teneral stage, Dragonflies are very susceptible to damage as the wings haven’t yet hardened and a few were clearly never going to make it.
Other flora to be seen include Bog Rosemary and Sundews.
After a pretty bad week for the Natural England needed some good PR so many thanks to Mel and her helpers for another great trip onto the Moss. Please note that Chartley Moss is only accessible by contacting Natural England and under no circumstances should anyone attempt to visit without a professional guide.