Thursday, 3 June 2010

Thursday 3rd.June 2010

After two days working on the new shed , I was glad to get out , and had arranged with a hedgelaying colleague , back in March , to take him to see some Orchids . Carol was due a visit to her friend in Ashford , so I dropped her off there , then met Tony in the wilds of deepest Kent .
Our first target was Monkey Orchid , but , on arrival at the site , things did not look very good , with no sign of the species around the quarry area . In fact , it was birds that caught the attention , with a pair of Mistle Thrushes feeding on the bank , whilst in the scrubby areas , Yellowhammers sang from the tops of Hawthorn , Blackcaps , Chiffchaffs and several Common Whitethroats supplied the backing . Even a short burst of a Nightingale was heard . Lots of Twayblades , and the odd , past it's sell by date , Early Purple Orchid was found , before the first few , many of them browsed by rabbits , Monkey Orchid was found . This is a rare species , and is only found on this site and a handful of others in Oxfordshire . The only other Orchid found on the site was a single Fragrant , the flowers of which were still in bud . Good numbers of Common Blue butterflies were recorded , including a mating pair , a single each of Orange Tip and Brown Argus , neither stopping for a shot . As we were leaving , another enthusiast was arriving to photographer the Monkey Orchids that he had found in bud about two weeks ago . Not one of the specimens that he had seen then were still standing , all nibbled of by the obvious large Rabbit population on the site , he was not a happy man .
With other species to find , we headed to another site , this time mainly covered by woodland . Having parked the car and walking to the site , I couldn't resist photographing this horse , looking as if it was in a snowy field , but the 'snow' was in fact Oxeye Daisies . Almost straight away , we added Lady Orchid to the list , but the numbers were much fewer than on my last visit . Much walking followed , but Fly and then Greater Butterfly Orchids , pictured , were added . It turned out to be the only specimen of this species found on site . A couple of Helleborines , White and Broad-leaved were added , the second only in leaf , they will flower in early July . On a sunny bank with Horeshoe Vetch in good number , we found a newly emerged Adonis Blue male , and on the edge of the woodland , what I thought from a distance to be a female Broad Bodied Chaser , turned out to be a Hornet , probably a queen from the size of it . A Turtle Dove was hear 'purring' on the farmland edge , but it was not seen . The last Orchid species found today , was just before we left the site , a Common Spotted , just starting to flower . Other butterflies recorded included 3 Brimstone males , 2 Large Whites , and a very worn Comma , that must be one of the last surviving overwintering adults .
Leaving Tony to make his way home , happy with his list of 8 new orchids , 10 in all , all photographed , I headed to pick Carol up . House Martins always nest in the friend's road , but none have returned this year . That gave the local House Sparrows a solid platform to make their nest on .


Warren Baker said...

A great day to be out Greeie, and you made the most of it. Ive got an orchid on my patch that's awaiting to bloom, i'll post it for you to ID when it does :-)

Orchids and Nature said...

I envy your orchid finds today. Ive
been looking for the Bee Orchid today but it will be another 2-3 weeks before they flower and parts of their leaves have been blackened by the frost.The Fragrant Orchids are only just pushing through.

Lancs and Lakes Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

That's a crackin day out Greenie - stuff of dreams for us northerners



Phil said...

Nice post Greenie. Shame about the House Martins but at least the House Sparrows got something out of it!

ShySongbird said...

A very interesting post again, Greenie, you saw some real beauties there. I would love to get to see the Monkey Orchid this year but fear it may have finished flowering before I get the chance.

Lovely photos throughout, the Yellowhammer was beautiful and I also like the horse in the 'snow' :)

Thank you very much for your help with the IDs. I have, of course, replied to your comment and also credited you on my post and linked to you.