Wednesday, 24 July 2013

23rd July - Butterflies and Botany on Lindisfarne NNR

Summer has well and truly kicked in and the amazingly diverse plant species on Lindisfarne NNR are blooming, much to the delight of the Island's abundant butterflies and moths (and visitors!).

Butterflies are making the most of the floral spectacle - the Reserve's fantastic Dark Green Fritillaries can be seen among the dunes now, along with lots of Common Blue, Small Heath, Green-veined White, and good numbers of Ringlet. Graylings have also been seen recently, you will be lucky to spot one of these well-camouflaged butterflies.

The Dark Green Fritillary - Lindisfarne NNR is one of the best places in Northumberland to see this butterfly

Ringlet butterfly

The Reserve is a fantastic place for budding botanists to learn about coastal and duneland plant species, and for the more experienced there are plenty of beautiful species to see - the Reserve is one of the most important sites in the region for several orchid species, many of which can be seen in bloom now.

One of our most beautiful orchids is the Marsh Helleborine, flowering in their thousands during July. This species grows abundantly in the damp dune slacks and lower-lying areas of the dunes.

Many Marsh Helleborines in flower among the dunes

One beautiful Marsh Helleborine

Two 6-spot Burnet moths on Pyramidal orchids (with some Pirri-pirri bur in the background). Pyramidal orchids grow in many shades of pink, and occasionally white variants can occur.

Orchids may be our 'star' attractions, but other duneland plants are just as beautiful. This is the Seaside Centaury in bloom on the duneland of the Reserve - this species is rare in this county and is abundant on Lindisfarne this year. Its flowers can be seen from July - August.

It is important that we preserve the habitat for all these fantastic flowers - one way we are doing this is by controlling the spread of Pirri-pirri bur which competes with the native plants. Please keep dogs on short lead or at heel when visiting the Reserve, this will prevent flowers being trampled and also stop Pirri-pirri bur seeds being spread.

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