WFV, Dealburn Rd, Low Moor and Railway terrace, 20th June 2017

Bee OrchidBee OrchidOur group of ten met up with our leader for the day Martyn Priestley. He led us around this local nature reserve; created from reclaimed industrial land. It is still surrounded by industry such as chemical and engineering works and there is a constant backgound noise.

Although we were in the middle of a heatwave, on this particular day it was overcast throughout with a cooling easterly breeze. The temperature therefore stayed below 18c. Despite this lowish temperature we still managed to spot the following butterflies and moths; Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Small Heath, Large Skipper, Narrow-bordered Five-spot Burnets, Celypha lacunanas and a wing of a male Ghost Moth. The majority of these were found roosting and numbers of all were low.  Grass moths were however in abundance, all seemed to be Chrysoteuchia culmella.

Joan and Alice recorded 75 plants in flower. The star species were the freshly emerged Bee Orchids, at least 14 separate plants were located. Other plants of note: Melilots, Hairy and Smooth Tare, Common Spotted Orchid.  Bird's foot trefoils and clovers were seen all over this impressive and rather large site.  

Lunch was taken inside Woodlands Cricket Club. This excellent venue had been thoughtfully arranged for us by Stuart who wasn't even with us. The comfortable highbacked chairs looked very like the type of furniture to be found in a Nursing home for the elderly!  After lunch we again met up with Martyn, this time outside Railway Terrace (Raw Nook). This reserve used to be railway sidings so is very flat.  We heard singing Song Thrushes and Blackcaps. Martyn took us to the areas of heather where he explained that without constant upkeep would quickly become crowded out by birch and bramble. A Clouded Border moth was seen and also a solitary Cinnabar on the path(shielded by Alison to ensure it wasn't stood on by the group).

We went to the small pond where we saw Fringed Water Lily but no dragonflies as it was probably too cool for them.

Our 3rd and final destination was Toadholes Beck. We were shown several splendid Southern Marsh Orchids. These were almost the colour of Northern Marsh but the lip shapes were certainly Southern M.

Our driver for the day was Julia. Joan had kindly co-ordinated the arrangements with Martyn. 

John Gavaghan


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