Out around Tresellern Marsh & Trewortha Tor

Sunday morning dawned rather wet but all the various forecasts indicated that it would stop raining so we decided not to cancel the event. A good decision except for a final deluge just as the ten of us arrived at the marsh!

Hawthorn and rain cloud (SM)

With kind permission from the farmer, Mr Hosking, we walked down though his lower fields towards the marsh which is the north side of the Withy Brook below Trewortha Tor. I think that our one disappointment was that this year, we were too early for the orchids. Some were starting to flower but most were still in bud and it was quite difficult to avoid stepping on them. I will check but most if not all were the heath-spotted in various of pink. There wil be a carpet of them in a week or so. Other indications of a later season were the numbers of bluebell and cuckoo-flower still in bloom. We recognised the two forms of cotton grass, pale butterwort and found both the pink lousewort and the marsh lousewort once we discovered one in flower.

Heath-spotted orchid (JB)         Cladonia lichen (JB)         Marsh lousewort (JB) 

Whorled Caraway! (JB)




We fanned out into the increasingly marshy area puzzling over some of the plants and managing, between us, to name quite a few. Defeated by this plant on the left which looked from a distance like an equisetum or horsetail but not when close to, I have just looked it up and of course, it is whorled caraway,Carum verticillatum. 




As we carefully edged towards the brook, Tina (appropriately from Cornwall Butterfly Conservation) spotted the first Marsh Fritillary butterflies, four seen at once and another later.  Various white butterflies sailed past overhead and we were able to list the green-veined whites when they settled on the flowers.


Burnet moth chrysalis (SM)                   Rabbit (SM)               Painted lady butterfly (JB) 

A large red damselfly was noted but no one saw the scarcer small red. As I was balancing on a tussock there was movement just ahead and the greyish silhouette of a snake glided through the grasses; then I saw the zig-zag pattern and realised 'Adder!' Photos were duly taken then it was left in peace but it was a surprize to find one in such a wet area although there were plenty of young frogs for it to feed on.

After lunch back near the ford, we moved up the lane to walk down past Bastreet waterworks and across the footbridge to the slopes of Trewortha Tor. Speckled wood butterflies were in amongst the willow near the water and Tina saw a couple of small heath butterflies on the slope. And then Pete spotted a cuckoo, possibly the one that had been calling in the morning and with the aid of binoculars, we could see it was a male and that it was being mobbed by pipits and reed buntings. Adrian was rather annoyed that he had left his zoom lens in the car ~ it would have made a fantastic photograph when it was posing on the tree stump!

Pete led us along a rather tortuous (!) route to the top of the tor where we could see the breadth of Kilmar on one side and across to Brown Willy & Rough Tor on the other. I was last up but did see a fox watching us before it quietly turned away down into the boulders. Walking onto another tor, King Arthur's Bed, where red admiral butterflies were flying, we stood in warm sunshine~ what a beautiful afternoon! Two more butterflies, this time painted ladies, were basking on the warm granite of Trewortha Tor.

King Arthur's Bed


A good day, all in all! Thank you to everyone who defied the weather; to Tina for keeping focussed on the butterflies and to Adrian who identified most of the birds. please let me know of any species missing from the list below, plenty I should think!

And thank you to the cake & scone makers and hot water providers... 


The adder (SM)   

Green-veined white on bog-beam flowers (SM)  Thanks to Jen & Sue for the photos, there may be a couple more later.

Species Seen:
Mammals: rabbit, fox. Birds: wheat-ear, raven, cuckoo, willow warbler, meadow pipit, reed bunting, stonechat, grey wagtail, swallow, robin, blackbird. Adder. frog. Butterflies & moths: green-veined white x 3, marsh fritillary x 4, speckled wood x 3, small heath x 2, painted lady x 2, red admiral x 2, green carpet moth, burnet moth chrysalis. Large red damselfly. Plants: Hawthorn, rowan and elder in flower, watercress, brooklime, round-leaved water crowfoot, water forget-me-not, spiny and marsh thistle, heath bedstraw, marsh St.John's wort, hemlock water dropwort, heath-spotted orchid, round-leaved sundew, common cotton-grass, hare's tail cotton-grass, tormentil, milkwort, cross-leaved heath, louse wort, marsh lousewort, pale butterwort, bog asphodel in bud, bog-bean, cuckoo flower, bluebell, marsh violet leaves, whorled caraway.