Saturday, 16 June 2012

Saturday 6h. June 2012

Had planned to do a butterfly transect today , but the high winds and grey skies made that a definite no-no . Not wanting to roam too far , I headed for a look around the Farm lake . On arrival it looked like Winter , with the bank vegetation almost horizontal at times , and the odd spit of rain in that strong wind . Butterflies and Odonata were out of the question , so it was down to plants , and in particular , Orchids . I had searched on my last visit for the Southern Marsh Orchid that had flowered
last year , but without success . As I walked the far side of the lake , a pink column amongst all the greenery caught my eye , and there it was in full flower , just the single specimen , same as last year .
Good numbers of Common Spotted Orchids , found in small groups around the lake , and amongst
them , a single white specimen . Further up the bank , the Pyramidal Orchids were found in various
stages of flowering , this one being well advanced . Amongst all the other bankside plants fighting for
space , Ribbed Melilot / Melitotus officinalis , a member of the Pea family , and well favoured by many insects , is ahead of most of it's rivals . No sign of the juvenile Little Grebe , but I did hear the species calling . Only other interest as the skies got even darker , a female Mallard that was keeping
her ten newly hatched young as far as she could away from the camera . That threatening sky then opened and I just got back to the car before the worst of it . After a coffee at home , I dropped Carol in the town , and made my way to Hutchinson's Bank , to carry on the Orchid theme , as Martin the butterfly recorder was leading an Orchid walk , which I tagged on to . I think the weather put many off , but a few hardy souls set off , hoping for butterflies as well as the Orchids . After Broad-leaved Helleborine at the start of the walk , it was some way to the next Orchids , so the odd butterfly took
over the interest . Just a few Small Blues were seen , well fewer than on my last visit , but a bonus was my first Large Skipper of the year , the first of the 'Golden Skippers' . The first was amale that evaded the camera , but then a female was spotted  sheltering amongst the grass , identified as such
the lack of a sex brand , dark line on it's  upper wing . Once we got to the main Orchid area , species started to increase , with Common Twayblade , White Helleborine (flowers gone over) , Violet Helleborine (still to flower)  and the star of the show , Greater Butterfly Orchid , of which two were
in flower . In a beautiful 'U shaped' , botom of a valley meadow , we added Man Orchid and lots of Pyramidal Orchids , but failed to find any Bee Orchids , which have been recorded in the past on the site . Mind you , we were distracted by a Common Buzzard being driven off by two local Corvids . In a sheltered corner of the meadow , Meadow Brown , Common Blue and Small Heath butterflies were found , but it was too windy to find any Green Hairstreaks in their favoured spot . A day flying Cinnabar moth and several Burnet Companion moths were also seen . On our way back ,
another couple of male Meadow Browns were seen , and one made it to the viewfinder . Not much
excitement on the way back apart from a couple of plants , Hop Trefoil / Trifolium campestre ,
another member of the Pea family , as is one of my favourites , Grass Vetchling / Lathyrus nissolia . So it finished up a nine Orchid species day , with many thanks to Martin for leading today's search .


Warren Baker said...

A brave effort at a summers days butterfly recording Greenie! Isn't it woe-full!

Good to see that Skipper out though, might get one here soon. Very nice Small Blue photo too!

PS looking at those common spotted orchids in your post confirm what mine were the other day :-)

Spock said...

We had a Bee Orchid on Hutchinsons Bank found after the walk this afternoon.

A photo is on my Butterfly blog


ShySongbird said...

You certainly made the most of the day Greenie. It's been miserable again here and the winds have been awful, whatever happened to Spring and will we have any Summer I wonder!

A wonderful collection of orchids, excellent stuff and well done for spotting the Southern Marsh! Nice that you managed to find some butterflies despite the windy conditions.

Ken. said...

I may not have been around for a while, but I have been looking in now and again. Good to see that you managed to get a shot of the Downy Emerald at Sevenoaks. As for your trip out on Friday that was a great count of 13 Grass Snakes. It will be interesting to find out what the lump is in that Grass Snake. A nice find of 2 Lesser Stag Beetles.
It was a grotty day today, and it was a good job there is flora around to photograph. Not being a great lover of flowers etc I do like to see nice photo's especially Orchids.