30 Day Wild challenge I am also doing the Walk1000Miles challenge - I know! Today we decided to cover both with a 5.5 mile walk round our local National Trust Nature Reserve - Wicken Fen. It is the National Trust's oldest reserve, a Site of Scientific Special Interest and a Wetland Special Area of Conservation. We've been lots of times before and during the winter it has thousands of birds visit but this time of year the insects take front stage with dragon and damselflies - in fact the reserve is also home the British Dragonfly Association's Dragonfly Centre
As well as walking and photographing as much as I could, I also thought for today's 30 Day Wild challenge I would endeavour to identify whatever we saw and find out one fact about each key species. There were a few things we didn't manage to photograph - Reed buntings, Egrets, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Shoveler ducks, Cuckoo, Small Red-Eyed Damselflies, Common Blue Damselflies and a possible Marsh Harrier - and probably loads that we missed or could only hear - it is home to over 9000 species after all!
Marsh Orchid: These could be Southern Marsh or Early Marsh Orchids - both are found here. FACT - apparently notoriously difficult to tell these apart unless you're an expert!
Scarce Chaser Dragonfly: FACT - only 6 main locations in UK - Norfolk/Suffolk, Sussex, Wiltshire/Somerset, Cambridgeshire, Kent and Dorset/Hampshire
Yellow Flag Iris: FACT - chosen as the county flower for Wigtownshire, Scotland
Four-Spotted Chaser Dragonfly: FACT - the males prefer a perch looking away from the sun as their eyes are more sensitive to UV and blue-violet light and therefore suited to detecting pray against the sky.
Ragged Robin: FACT - in Shakespeare's time it was called Crowflower and was featured in Ophilia's garland.
Buff-tailed Bumble bee (I think!): FACT - it is the UK's largest bumblebee species
Thick-Legged Flower Beetle: FACT - often called the Swollen-Thighed Beetle
Garden Tiger Moth Caterpillar: FACT - commonly known as 'Wooly Bears'
Meadow Pipit (I think!): FACT - it flutters like a parachute in display flight
Lapwing: FACT: Lapwings (or Peewits) are a red list species
Small Tortoiseshell Butterfly: FACT - the species was first defined in 1758
Snipe: FACT - the male 'drums' with its tail feathers in his courtship display