Saturday, 11 May 2013

Saturday 11th. May 2013

With heavy showers forecasted for the afternoon , I set off early in search of my first flowering orchids of the year . From the car park , it is a good walk to the site , a woodland on the edge of farmland , and being reasonably high , the cool morning wind made it feel very un-Summerlike . As with visits in previous years , the Early Purple Orchids were found amongst the swathes of Bluebells , all rushing to do their thing , before the canopy closes . As is intimated in the name , this species of orchid is mainly coloured purple , but at this site , white and pink specimens also can be found .

I didn't count the spikes , but would estimate over 100 in flower , with more to open . Having had my fill , I moved on to a sheltered grassland site managed by LB Bromley , in the hope of finding some butterflies on the wing during the brief sunny spells , but failed to find any , I did however find another two Early Purple Orchids growing out in the middle of the site , I'm not sure if they have been recorded before there , I will have to get in touch with the Rangers at High Elms and check that out . No butterflies , but two tiny Pyraustra sp. day flying moths , also known as Mint Moths , were

found . These can be very variable , so I've read , and with my track record with moth ID , fear to put a full ID to them , but would suggest P.aurata or purpuralis for the first and possibly P.nigrata for the
second , even though it isn't very dark . Other interest found included this lamb of may colours , in
the neighbouring field , a nice stand of Honesty / Lunaria rediviva , a member of the Cabbage
family , lots of the chalk loving Crosswort / Cruciata laevipes , a member of the Bedstraw
family , and lots more Yellow Archangel , nowin all it's glory ,  in full flower . The only migrant birds seen / heard  , were Swallow , Common Whitethroat , Chiffchaff and Blackcap . Plenty of Skylarks up and singing , regardless of the weather and three Linnets , one posed early on , but I only
 had the 100mm. lens on the camera , and conditions were poor . Finally , in an area where Yellowhammer was a 'given' in the past , it wasn't until almost getting back to the car , that I came

across a pair along the lane by the farmhouse , once again in poor conditions , but at least I managed to get back without getting soaked .


Phil said...

Nice to see some Orchids Greenie and Yellow Archangel is a super plant for me.
Hope to get to NH tomorrow morning so will try to find some there. Certainly won't find Yellowhammer though!

Warren Baker said...

Found four or five spikes of purple Orchid here with the Bluebells Greenie, I take it they are Early Purples then ?