Friday, 23 May 2008

Endrick Water, West Dunbartonshire/Stirlingshire, Special Area of Conservation

This area is part of the Loch Lomond National Nature Reserve and is a Special Area of Conservation due to its large populations of River Lamprey, Brook Lamprey and Atlantic Salmon.

In May the vegetation is so lush, so vividly green and fresh, it's almost worth the long winter months to enjoy this brief period when Scotland can be a paradise.

On route I had to cross several fields containing cattle which always makes me a little nervous. I would love to spend a few nights camping here so that I can hopefully get a glimpse of an otter, but I would definitely have to pick a site carefully...I don't want my tent to get trampled during the night!

Bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta)
Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum multiflorum)

The riverside meadows were full of Cuckoo Flower (Cardamines pratensis) and Dock plants (Rumex sp.). The Dock plants were absolutely covered with highly irridescent, bronzy-green leaf beetles (Gastrophysa viridula) which had skeletonized many of the leaves.

Gastrophysa viridula (species of leaf beetle)

I didn't see any Otters but was able to find their footprints on the muddy riverbank as well as piles of fish scales from a recent meal.

Numerous Orange-tips (Anthocharis cardamines) and Green-veined Whites (Pieris napi) were attracted by the Cuckoo flowers. You can still see a hint of orange through the male's folded wings and the marbled markings on the undersides of his wings are more pronounced than the female's. The Orange-tip's scientific name means 'flower-grace' (Anthocharis) and 'bittercress' (cardamines)- refering to its food plant.

Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) male
Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines) male
Orange-tips (Anthocharis cardamines) male (left) and female (right) 
Orange-tips (Anthocharis cardamines) male (left) and female (right)

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