Force of nature

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Tuesday 4 June 2013 22:00

Rachael and I had a great time in Teesdale, the first time I have been up to that part of the world. I was impressed with the water falls High Force (above) and Low Force (below). The plants were pretty amazing with lots of arctic-alpine species, many of which I haven't seen since I went up into the Cairngorms in 2004. 
Spring Gentian, Bird's-eye Primrose, Globeflower, Mountain Pansy, Wood Horsetail, Beech Fern and Pyrenean Scurvy-grass were all over the place.

Alpine Bartsia was a new one for me. Any plant with purple flowers AND purple leaves gets my vote.

As was False Sedge which is a key component of the NVC community CG9d (a new NVC community for me too). 

Surprises included stumbling across Wood Stitchwort on the walk back down from High Force and also stumbling across this unfortunate Violet Oil Beetle Meloe violaceus. This gravid female had been squashed on a path and the bright orange eggs were all over the place. Amazingly the poor thing was still alive and recalled the end scene from Aliens. I imagined my first encounter with a violet oil beetle would have been a little different to this.
We were too early for many flowering species though such as Spring Sandwort and Yellow Saxifrage. The breeding waders were stunning. I have never seen so many Lapwings, Redshanks, Curlews, Snipe, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher and Golden Plover. Oddly though, we didn't see a single bird of prey in the valley. Spotted Flycatchers were one of the commonest passerines too! 

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