Upland Wet Heathland

Upland wet heathland

In high rainfall areas of the North West Highlands upland wet heathland occurs in mosaics with blanket bog, acid grasslands, flushes and springs at altitudes from near sea level up to near 600 metres in some locations. Wet heathland occurs on acidic, nutrient-poor soils, such as shallow peats with impeded drainage. The vegetation is typically dominated by mixtures of cross-leaved heath, heather, grasses, sedges and Sphagnum bog-mosses. Deeper peat blanket bog forms in hollows and where the terrain is flatter. There peat forming Sphagnum mosses, cotton grasses, purple moor-grass and deer sedge dominate an understory of heath lichens and Atlantic bryophytes. On the hills peat depths rarely exceed one or two metres. In this landscape bog-pools and small lochans are a common feature. It is largely treeless landscape. Natural succession to upland birch wood or wet woodland of birch, alder and willows is prevented by grazing of large numbers of deer and sheep.

In this open habitat Meadow Pipits are common. Red Grouse also occur in small numbers. Golden Plover, Dunlin and Greenshank return to breed during the summer months. Nationally scarce dragonflies such as the Azure Hawker, Northern Emerald and White-faced Darter are found in the bog-pools.

Visual Portfolio, Posts & Image Gallery for WordPress
Highland Wildlife Photography background image
Image copyright David Whitaker Highland Wildlife Photography