Monday, 27 May 2013

Waterford Heath

Being a warm sunny morning I spent a few hours at Waterford Heath for butterflies. Unfortunately there was also a cool breeze which proved to be a bit of a problem, and I ended up doing a spot of landscape photography. However I did get to see a small number of species.
The northern section was visited first, where there are large expanses of Wild Strawberry and other low growing plants suitable for the Grizzled Skippers. Despite a long search I could not locate any, even in the warm sheltered spots. One Holly Blue and a few Large red Damselflies were seen, as was a Large White.
The southern section tends to be more successful for me but it took a long time to locate one Skipper which was so flighty I never got the camera on it. Lots of Orange Tips, a few Green Veined and Small Whites, singles of Speckled Wood and Brimstone were also seen.
The big problem seems to be the ever increasing Goats Rue which appears to be swamping the low growing plants along with the brambles and scrub on the banks. Although the Wild Strawberry is probably at it's peak, large areas are being shaded out which is likely to be impacting on the sun loving Skippers and reported numbers seem to be low this year. One good plant though is Hounds Tongue which I have  seen on sand dunes in Norfolk and is quite abundant here. I noticed it on my first visit and thought no more of it until I bumped into Simon Knot who was very surprised when I told him-apparently it is rather rare.

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