Middle Moor

Saturday, June 22nd 2019

Our Middle Moor has come a long way since it 'joined' the reserve.  It was rough pasture but our four Highlanders started the work to improve it.  To say that they were characters is putting it mildly.  It was very rare that you could manage to get all four in one photo and if they were all looking at you that was certainly a step in the right direction, 

as usually there was at least one bottom in the photograph!

Their presence on the moor removed much of the rough vegetation.  In time they actually did themselves out of a job and they started to do more damage than good so a new home was found for them.

By that time we had replanted the ancient hedgelines across the moor, fenced so the Highlanders could not damage the young saplings.  These are now growing well and enhance the moor and provide yet more habitats at Foxglove.  In the photo above you can see the new fence.

The next step was to plant Yellow Rattle plug plants.  Each year we walk the moor from February, as by then we really want to see some new growth, looking for the tiny seedlings, but we have to wait until March for them to appear.

We breathe a sigh of relief in April, as the leaves can be found across the moor.

May sees the first flower.

Yellow Rattle is semi-parasitic on certain grasses and this reduces the amount of grass so that other flowers can flourish.  Lousewort and Cowslips bloomed in spring.  Now Wood Geranium can be seen.

Buttercups, Eyebright, Fairy Flax, Dog Daisies, Common Bird's-foot Trefoil are flourishing, along with Rye Grass, Yorkshire Fog and some other grasses.  In the sunshine it is alive with buzzing bees.  Red Clover is essential for some bees.  This one has a long proboscis that was reaching inside the tube of the flower.

Our middle moor is now a beautiful flower rich meadow. 

It is a fantastic habitat for many invertebrates.  Moths and butterflies frequent the nectar rich flowers.  Painted Ladies were flitting quickly across the moor, not settling on a conveniently close flower long enough for a photograph, but this newly emerged Meadow Brown was much more co-operative.

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