What to See at Risley Moss in July

This month is when the main Dragonfly emergence takes place. By far the most common small dragonfly you will see will be the Black Darter, which is a species associated primarily with peaty areas such as Risley Moss. The other species comparatively frequently seen is the Common Darter. One of the best places to see both species is the ‘Wild Flower Patch’ where they regularly perch on the seat and the “Do not pick the Wild Flowers” sign.

Male Black Darter
Male Black Darter
Female Black Darter
Female Black Darter

 

 

 

 

 

Male Common Darter
Male Common Darter
Female Common Darter
Female Common Darter

 

 

 

 

 

The dragonflies are so numerous that they become the main food source for that most elegant small falcon, the Hobby. On a sunny day you can see from the Tower up to 3 or 4 of them flying over the mossland, catching Dragonflies in mid air, in fact last year there were uo to 7 on some occasions.  If you are lucky they may fly really close to the observation tower from where you will get a fantastic view.

hobby in flight
hobby in flight
hobby in tree
hobby perched in a tree

There are also some small butterflies (less than 3cm wing span) around. One regularly seen is the moth-like Large Skipper which is found around blackberry flowers. There are two small blue butterfly species on the site, but if you see one, it will probably be a Holly Blue. However, the most common butterfly is the medium sized Gatekeeper, which can be seen all around the site.

 

Large Skipper
Large Skipper
holly blue
holly blue
Gatekeeper
Gatekeeper

 

Phil Rees

 

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