Monday, 9 June 2008

Indiana Dave quest for a Lady Slipper and some Stilts 6th June 2008.

Lady's Slipper Orchid
-the rarest orchid in the UK !

Lady's Slipper Orchid again!

Walk this way please!

Long pink legged bird
aka Black winged Stilt!

As I had most of the week off from work and University I decided to travel up to Lancashire to look for the very rare and spell bounding Lady's Slipper Orchid, do some birding around Leighton Moss RSPB and on the way home check out the Black winged Stilts in Cheshire.
Leaving Leicester just after 9.00am, I arrived at Leighton Moss RSPB reserve at Silverdale at around 11.30am.
Walking away from the reserve and car park, I went straight to the Lady's Slipper site which was just around the corner from Leighton Moss.
At this site, the orchid is guarded by Natural England staff to protect it from halfwits who have in past have tried dig up the plant!
Talking to the warden, he showed me were the plant was and then left me to photo this mythical orchid.
Whilst photographing the orchid,a BBC local news team asked if it was ok for interview about why I had come to see the rare orchid!?
As I was think this was my fifteen minutes of fame, I naturally said yes.
Been interview by Peter Marshall, I was asked the standard questions, why I had come all the way to see this orchid, what were my feelings of seeing this plant and was it a spiritual moment!(Yeah Right!)
I was then interviewed with the warden as we talked about the orchid, and me taking photos of the orchid.
After filming me for fifteen minutes (maybe I should have got an agent?!?), the crew thanked me for the interview, and I walked back to Leighton Moss for a spot of Birding.
Walking round the main reserve, I was slightly disappointed of the lack of bird life, and the only thing of note was a male Marsh Harrier seen flying over the large reedbed.
The one saving grace of the reserve, was that it had a tearoom,and the staff made me a ham sandwich to go!
Driving over the tidal pools at the other side of the reserve, I walked down the track to the Eric Morecambe hide.
Viewing from the hide the first thing I noticed was a juvenile-type Spoonbill actually feeding around the tidal pool. Other notable birds included a large flock of 200+ Black Tailed Godwits, 10+ Avocets feeding young and good numbers of the all the usual common waders.
As it was mid afternoon by now, I decided it was time to leave this attractive part of the country, and head back towards the Midlands.
As previous stated on the way home I stopped off at Neuman's Flash near Northwich, Cheshire to view the breeding Black winged Stilts. Arriving at the RSPB viewpoint, I watched the Stilts feeding in the shallow lagoons for the next half an hour, and took a number of digishots of the breeding pair.
After digiscoping the Stilts I walked back to the car, and then tackled the M6 rush hour traffic on my way home.
What was pleasing about the day was that I had finally seen one of the truly mythical orchids in the UK and it was also nice to catching up with the breeding Stilts as this was the first time since 1983, that these birds had successful breed in the UK.
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