Thursday, 7 May 2009

Thursday 7th.May 2009

This morning was grim , and after lunch , not much better , but after being in the house all morning , I set off for High Elms .
It was obvious from the start that seeing any butterflies was out of the question , as it happens , I did see one Large White , but I think that had been blown out of the tree where it was roosting . There was a strong wind blowing along Burnt Gorse when I arrived , and it did not abate , and the sun was like hens teeth , so , I turned my attention to see what plants were showing . The first one that I found in flower , sounding as if it should be growing on the other side of the Channel , was Wild Mignonette , often found on lime . This was followed by one that will not flower for a good few weeks yet , was the Medival version of 'Oust' or 'Glade' . It is Ploughman's Spikenard , a member of the Daisy family . In Medival times , this plant was hung over the roof beams of the houses , in an effort to rid the area of smells . I was about to give up on Burnt Gorse , when I found two Fly Orchids , I don't think I have recorded them on this area before . They were both within 2mtrs. of each other , but I couldn't see any more . The last thing I found was the first Common Spotted Orchid to come into flower bud . On the way to the Orchid Bank , I stopped for a while at the glade where the Silver Washed Fritillary butterflies were laying their eggs on tree trunks last year . I searched for a while to see if I could find a caterpillar , that would have hatched from one if those eggs in the late Summer , then overwintered as such , before emerging this Spring to feed on the Violets around the trees , before pupating and emerging as an adult in July . I found some munched Violet leaves , but did not find any caterpillars . I dropped down the slope , to check again on the Bird's Nest Orchids . About a week ago , there was no sign , but today , I found seven specimens of what must be the least colourful Orchid of all . Some were just breaking through the leaf litter , in the shade of the canopy being formed by the Hazels that abound in this part of the wood . Others had already put on up to 10/12cm. of growth . We usually get a few more than this , so there could well be more to come . Eventually they will reach anything up to 25cm. in height . I headed back up the slope towards the Orchid Bank , and started finding White Helleborines . Like before , some were just breaking through , but some were in flower bud , and a couple I found in sheltered spots were already in flower . By the time I got onto the Orchid Bank , I had counted 53 , but I am sure there are a lot more than that out there . My trampled Fly Orchid , with splints , is still surviving , just , but I also found another 11 specimens in the same area . One of these , which was not showing on my last visit , already has two flowers .
As I walked back to the car , the clouds parted and the sun came out , but it didn't last long , on the drive home the clouds closed back in on themselves .


Ken Browne. said...

Hi Greenie.
You certainly find a nice variety of Flora on your walks. Perhaps the rest of us don't look close enough. I like the Fly orchid photo.
Can you tel me what the flower picture is on my blog. I looked in my books but nothing. I will have to get a better field guide.

Phil and Mandy said...

I like the 3rd picture Greenie, looks like a little one piece suit. Regards Phil

Kingsdowner said...

A good haul in difficult conditions - that looks like a place to visit (with a skilled guide, of course!)