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Jeffry Bog 16th June 2007

Janet Denney

Fragrant orchid Gymnadenia conopsea Although the weather was not very summery, it was disappointing to have only four members turn up to view this YWT reserve alongside the River Derwent. We were met by Charles Clark, chairman of the reserve management committee, who explained the background as to how the YWT acquired the reserve, and showed us the main features and what ongoing maintenance was needed. We enjoyed Charles’ company around the reserve as well as his great enthusiasm for the place and the wildlife. An interesting feature of the meadow is that despite the name of Jeffrey Bog, a misplaced drainage scheme some years ago has left only patches of wetland, thereby providing habitat for a few marsh plants including ragged robin amongst more usual meadow species.

The reserve consists of two flower rich fields bordering the River Derwent near Kirkham Abbey, with some hedges and woodland. Both meadows were colourful with a wide range of plants from acid heath species such as tormentil to lime lovers like fragrant orchid of which we saw a single example (left). Betony was in flower, together with plentiful purple spotted orchids [probably common spotted orchids. Ed.]. Nan was very interested in possible hybridisation of a patch of tormentil with creeping cinquefoil and a great deal of careful study took place, though results were inconclusive on the day!

Charles showed us the ant hills of field ants – these were large, grassy hummocks. We did not see much ant activity and were intrigued how the ants might have survived the recent flooding. Subsequently Don Smith has informed us that ant hills contain many air pockets into which the ants can safely retreat.

Tom and Jim studied the river for birds but saw only moorhen. As you can see, the river was very high, muddy and fast-flowing on the day.

View of R Derwent and meadow

Perhaps due to the previous heavy rain (and occasional light shower on the day itself) there was not a great deal of butterfly or dragonfly activity but we did have good views of the banded demoiselle, male and female, one of the specialities of the reserve. This damselfly is uncommon in our region and is not found roughly north of a line between Newcastle and Carlisle.

The pictures below are of ragged robin and common spotted orchid growing with meadow buttercup.

Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi
Ragged Robin

Orchids and buttercups
Spotted orchids with meadow buttercups

Common spotted orchid Dactylorhiza fuchsii
Common spotted orchid (detail)

All in all an interesting and pleasant place to visit – pity there were only four of us.

Janet Denney Back to the Index page

Text and photos © Janet Denney 2007