GNS Field Meeting, Splatt Bridge (17 May, contributed by Ingrid Twissell)

The main focus of this walk was to see a Hairy Dragonfly and hear and/or see a cuckoo. Five GNS members, including a junior, met at 11am after a torrential rainstorm and a short sunny spell. It was cloudy when we set off over Splatt Bridge, Frampton, and travelled southwards along the towpath of the Sharpness – Gloucester Canal. It was too windy for flying insects, but we did see a drinker moth caterpillar, a dark bush-cricket nymph, and heard the lovely sound of birdsong in the bushes – blackcap, sedge warbler, chiffchaff and lesser whitethroat. We passed through the gate to cross the two fields towards Green Lane, and here we had a botany lesson from Juliet who explained the characteristics and differences between three species of buttercup. By the gate into Green Lane, a small copper butterfly and another drinker moth caterpillar were seen. Once in Green Lane we started to look carefully for any signs of the Hairy Dragonfly, but unfortunately all we saw were damselflies – Large Red, Blue-tailed, Common Blue and Azure – sheltering in the vegetation, as well as an alien Harlequin ladybird, a 14-spot joined ladybird, a Cardinal beetle, and Orange Tip and Green-veined white butterflies. As we entered a short way into the WWT 100 Acres, another drinker moth caterpillar was spotted, which Amy is holding in the picture below. We also saw a 19-spot (water) ladybird, a green-coloured leaf beetle, black and red frog-hoppers, and a poisonous plant – Hemlock Water Dropwort. Whilst here the rain that had threatened for most of the walk began to fall and we beat a hasty retreat back to the cars. The highlights of the meeting were a quick glimpse of a grass snake as it disappeared into the vegetation, and walking back along the canal we did hear a cuckoo. It was just a shame that the conditions were not right for us to see a Hairy Dragonfly.

Skip to content