Friday 14 August 2015

Exploring the Talla valley

On the 12th August we set out for a recording day in the Talla valley. A small but diverse bunch, we were concentrating on butterflies, moths, bryophytes and other curiosities!

 Whilst Liz headed up into Black Cleuch, hunting for interesting places where the bryophytes have not already been recorded (the bryologists have been on the case in Talla and Gameshope creating a detailed baseline of the diversity on site)  the rest of us set out to complete butterfly transects.

Changes are already taking place in the valley, with the grass considerably longer than last year. Now that the woolly munchers are no longer about to eat any germinating tree seed lucky enough to reach Talla, we found three Rowan saplings clustered together. In such a vast landscape that seems completely devoid of trees, this is truly heart-warming.

Woo hoo!!

It was wonderful to have John Wooliams along who taught us a thing or two about identification of carpet moths

Common carpet - has a thin brown line in the thick white band!
Barred straw

My favourite part was clambering down the upland stream. Here there was rich diversity of plants including tall herbs such as meadowsweet and valerian; delicate flowers in the flushes such as starry saxifrage and an cascade of mountain fern, ladies mantle and blaebarry clinging to the steep slopes.

We even found Grass of Parnassus in a wet part on the valley bottom, also known as bog star this is a beautiful flower of the marsh and moor. 

The butterflies were out enjoying the afternoon sun and included green veined whites, ringlets and the small heath


Small heath

John also spotted a scotch argus butterfly down by the barn.

Really looking forward to to the next survey day where we'll be heading up the Gameshope valley.

This is on Sunday the 23rd August and if you'd like to come out to help survey please get in touch,

Ali Murfitt
Community and Education Officer 

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