Ramblings and nature notes of a bog-trotter
By Helen R Kirk
Feature Image: Common cotton grass in flower
Something of a revelation, Streptanus okaensis, a tiny leafhopper has been found on our moors! This discovery is a first for the UK! I remember another back in 1975 when Bembidion humerale the Thorne Moors beetle was discovered.
This discovery was made when Thorne & Hatfield Moors Conservation Forum undertook a survey in 2012 on a piece of lagg fen on the periphery of Thorne Moors SSSI. For 30 weeks I trekked the site retrieving material from traps, resetting them and then when I returned home sorting the material. The highlight is a tiny leafhopper new to the UK, Streptanus okaensis. It is small when seen in the hand so it is not really an instant wow. What it does illustrate is that our moors are still special despite the corporate carnage of yesteryear and they are still capable of delivering some amazing finds.
Already, some 321 different species of beetles have been identified and which include a good number of national rarities. Seventy four species of spiders, 41 of bugs, 70 of hymenoptera (ants, wasps, bees and their relatives), 25 of millipedes, centipedes and harvestmen, 16 of snail including a national rarity in good numbers! One evening’s moth-ing session yielded a list of 162 species! Work continues determining the myriad of flies we found! Key findings from this project were presented at a Seminar in September and in due course the survey will be published by the Forum.
The species above are invertebrates, what of the botany, the birds, the mammals and the reptiles and amphibians?
How many of you have ventured out there or remember them from your youth? Will they still be there for our grandchildren? In October you read about the ‘infamous WB’. How many of you are aware of the contribution made by the late Stephen Warburton to safeguarding our moors at Thorne and Hatfield?
Stephen was key in securing the £1.7m which saw the multi national Scotts (UK) Ltd take public money to stop peat extraction on public land here at Thorne and Hatfield Moors and at Wedholme Flow in Cumbria. Passionately and eloquently he raised the profile of our moors, he took the campaign to Parliament, it featured in Hansard and we owe it to future generations to ensure that the statutory agencies and authorities are left in no doubt the value that local communities place on their backyards, our moors.
If you’ve not experienced the magic then throw aside your cares for a day, get out there before it’s too late and reconnect with nature.