Somerset’s Summer Wildlife

Four days exploring Somerset’s Summer Wildlife with Naturetrek produced iconic landscapes and what are by now now-iconic birds such as Great White Egret.

But the reborn marshes of Avalon produced a whole lot more, for every interest – birds, plants and invertebrates:

The fenny, ferny kingdom of Shapwick Heath was especially alluring, following the prehistoric Sweet Track, with Royal Fern and Marsh Fragrant-orchid, Raft Spider and White Admirals, together with flypast Hobbies and Bittern, and a good selection of galls.

Here too, on an unprepossessing road-verge, a patch of one of the more surprising finds of the week, the Reversed (or as I like to call it ‘Trodden-on’) Clover’

Elsewhere we visited other newly developed sites such as the Steart Marshes, hosting Cattle Egrets, breeding Avocets and Flowering-rush, Skullcap and Grass Vetchling among the many other plants, where only ten years ago there were simply agricultural fields.

On to more established sites, Berrow Dunes proved a gentle start to the trip:

Brean Down came up with the goods, especially White Rock-rose at one of only two sites nationally, along with Ivy Broomrape, and Sulphur Beetles bedecking the Wild Carrot umbels.

Collard Hill was lovely limestone grassland, with spectacular Woolly Thistle (and its picture-winged flies), especially dramatic even in bud with its hypnotic Fibonacci whorls. Sadly though no Large Blues, perhaps because we were too late in the season or maybe the result of dull weather:

And Cheddar Gorge was as always spectacular, and the Black Rock reserve home to several Silver-washed Fritillaries engaged in their timeless, pointless battles with Commas:

On top of all of that, our base, the Batch Country House, provided a wide range of interesting moths into our trap (as well as good food and comfortable nights!).

A great few days in landscapes ancient and modern, with wildlife to suit all tastes!