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Monday, 28 May 2012

Chartley Moss Away Day ..Saturday 26th May..White Faced Darter and More

On Saturday I drove up to Chartley Moss in Staffordshire for a guided walk at a site owned by Natural England. It's a unique habitat and not open to the general public. I was hoping to see some of the specialities of the reserve.Having found out about the walk a few weeks ago, I alerted fellow local nature nerd JK, who was keen to ride shotgun up to the event.
It was a very warm afternoon , with a bit of breeze providing some relief as we descended on to the site. A Brimstone Butterfly was seen, 20 or so feet away..but we had been warned not to stray,as under the Sphagnum Moss on which we were walking was 14 Meters of water !

Next up, JK spotted the first of several sightings of Green Hairstreak. This was a lifer for me, and eventually after several sightings I managed to got a record of one too.One of my favourite butterflies.

Green Hairstreak

It was not long before the first Odonata of the afternoon was seen, with plenty of Large Red Damselflies about. We were  able to observe the females ovipositing, whilst being guarded by the male.

Large Red Damselfly

The dragonfly for which the reserve is famous, was soon encountered as we approached the first decent sized pools. Most the examples were not at full maturity, but nonetheless it was great to see my first  White Faced Darter.

Male White Faced Darter

 Also noted was a single Four Spotted Chaser ( a lifer ) and a Single male Broad Bodied Chaser. On the plant side, the carnivorous plant Sundew, which  is able to live in the high acidity of the bog and  was fairly common underfoot.

All in it was great afternoon, getting to experience this site of international importance, and getting close to some fantastic previously unseen creatures too.

Immature male White Faced Darter


  1. Oooh Ive never seen a White Faced Darter, lovely. Nice to see the Green Hairstreak too, one of my favourites. What a great spot.

  2. It is worth a visit if you get a chance.Due the cold damp weather the preceeding few weeks the WFD's were only just emerging, so the characteristic 'white face' was not fully developed in many individuals yet

  3. A great summary of an enjoyable day out Mark. You fared much better with the darter photos than I did!

  4. I have just commented on JK's blog after reading about your splendid day! Great images you have posted and a good read!

  5. Thanks Pam, keep an eye on the Natural England Website for future walks, well worth a trip !

  6. What a fascinating place to visit - very different from my usual territories. Your Male White-faced Darter look superb against that mossy-boggy background.