Sunday, 3 August 2008

Derbyshire day trip DR Helles, Frits and Golden Rings.... 3rd August 2008.

Dark Red Helleborine

Dark Red Helleborine no.2

Dark Green Fritillary

Mating Golden Ringed

Myself and John spent most of the day in North Derbyshire to check out a few sites.
The first site of the day was Curbar Bridge to look for Golden-ringed Dragonflies and Black Darters.
Checking out the surrounding moorland and the nearby stream and pond, we saw a good number of damselflies. Then walking around the pond John found a female type darter which looked like a Black Darter but after a bit of discussion and research at home later in the day, John decided it was just a Common Darter. So no Dragonfly tick for me!!
As we walked back to the car we check the area next to the road bridge and I picked up a large dragonfly flying around the other side of the stream. I shouted to John of its presence which he then saw land on some rushes on the opposite side of the stream. This was when the Indiana Dave mode kicked in as we both transversed the difficult stream!
After a bit of searching we found a superb mating pair of Golden Ringed Dragonflies and as you can imagine John took a good number of photos of the pair.
Returning to the car we then moved on to a nearby site to look for Dark Red Helleborines and Dark Green Fritillary Butterflies.
At this site, looking in the lower fields we saw a few Dark Green Fritillaries feeding on the vegetation but were just a bit to far to photo. Other butterfly sightings included Small Heath, Gatekeeper and Meadow Brown. Bird sightings in the fields included a nice family party of four Spotted Flycatchers.
Walking further up the path I then showed John a new orchid for his list in the form of Dark Red Helleborine (Epipactis atrorubens). In the surrounding hillside we counted 18 flowering spikes, with most of the flowers gone over. I did however take a few shots of the only plant which was still in flower.
This site is the most southerly in England for this species, as this orchid only occurs very locally on limestone in upland Britain.
Other orchids we saw in the surrounding fields included Northern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza purpurella), Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) and Common Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadnia conopsea) but were all past there best.
Butterflies we saw included the previously mentioned and over 30 Dark Green Fritillaries being was the major highlight. Also present here were Common Blue, Brown Argus, Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Large Skipper, Green-veined White and Small White.
Just before getting back to the car, we had a couple of Migrant and Southern Hawkers patrolling the end of the path.
Following lunch at a local cafe we returned to Curbar Bridge again to see if we could see Black Darter, but after searching for a good half an hour we concluded that our luck wasn't in.
However bird sightings were far more better as we recorded another family group of Spotted Flycatchers,a family party of Stonechats, a Juvenile Whinchat and a couple of Lesser Redpolls all in the surrounding moorland.
By this time myself and John were started to flag, so we decided to call it a day and returned to our home county of Leicestershire.

Cheers to John Hague for supplying the photos of Golden ringed Dragonflies and Dark Green Fritillary.
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