Monday, 28 July 2008

Anything for the weekend sir? A rare form of Broad Leaved Helleborine...Var.Viridiflora

The rare form Var.Viridiflora No 1.

Var.Viridiflora No.2

Another view of the Var.Viridiflora

A normal Broad leaved Helleborine!

Checking out Cloud Wood LRWT for most of the afternoon, I counted an excellent number of at least 160 Broad leaved Helleborines (Epipactis Helleborine) along the rides of the wood.
As neared the end of my count, I noticed a different coloured Helleborine species with a small group of six Broad leaved Helleborines.
Alarm bells started to ring straight away, as this plant looked totally different to the other nearby orchids.
Although slightly smaller, and the flower heads green in colouration, I thought that this plant might be a new orchid species for Leicestershire, and was possibly Green leaved Helleborine?
As I have never seen this species before I took a number of photos of the orchid, and then spoke to a couple of fellow Orchid hunters who had just arrived at the wood.
There conclusion was the same as mine, and couldn't really tell what the orchid was?
Further along the path I found another Helleborine which looked like the previous one, and again the ID was inconclusive.I took a few more photos of the plants and then returned home to check out the orchid via my numerous reference books.
At home I phoned Sean Cole (Fellow Orchid hunter) about the Helleborine and give him a brief description of the plants and it sounded good for Green leaved Helleborine.
We decided to meet back at the wood later in the evening to ID the Helleborines.
At around 7.00pm I met Sean and his wife Linda back at Cloud Wood which Sean then ID them as Broad leaved Helleborines but of the rare variety Var.viridiflora and was a tick to boot for Sean!
Although I was a little disappointed of not finding a new species for Leicestershire nationally this was probably a far more important sighting and showed just how good Cloud Wood really is for orchids.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Anything for the weekend sir?... No Orchids,but some nice Butterflies and a Pec Sandpiper! 20th July 2008.

Pectoral Sandpiper Manton Bridge RW.

Pec Sand again.

Red Knot and a few Black tailed Godwits
at Eyebrook Reservoir.

On the Saturday, I drove over to Norfolk to look for Creeping Ladies Tresses (Goodyera repens) at Holkham/Wells woods, but after checking the woods for over four hours I admitted defeat as I couldn't find any orchids in the surrounding conifer plantations. The only notable bird sighting I had in the woods was of a couple of Crossbills.

The Sunday I stayed local and did some birding in Leicestershire and Butterfly spotting at Fermyn Woods in Northamptonshire with John in the morning.
Highlights we had at Fermyn included Purple Emperor, White Admiral, Purple Hairstreak and probably the best of the bunch a Silver-washed Fritillary flying along the rides.
Bird sightings around the woods included a few Red Kites and three fly-over Crossbills.

On returning to Leicester I received a text message from Andy Mackay that there was a Pectoral Sandpiper in Manton Bay, Rutland Water.
So after a bit of lunch I drove over to Rutland Water. Reaching Manton Bridge the Pec Sand was showing well on the shoreline just right of the bridge. I took a few record digishots of the Sandpiper, and also noted a 2nd Summer Yellow-legged Gull resting not to far from the Sandpiper.
Other waders in the bay included Greenshank, 10+ Dunlins and four Common Sandpipers.
Driving back to Leicester via Eyebrook Reservoir I stopped at the inflow end and saw a good mix of waders feeding on the shoreline.
Notable birds included a nice looking Red Knot feeding with a group thirteen Black-tailed Godwits, a single Golden Plover hiding in the masses of Lapwings and five Dunlins constantly feeding on the near shoreline.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Anything for the weekend Sir?... Krakow stag do! 11th-13th July 2008.

Photos of the beautiful Krakow, Poland.

Meeting up with my old Aston University friends (Kij, Geordie Ian, Joey and Marc) we spent three days in the beautiful city of Krakow.

The occasion for being in the city was Marcus Jeffery (another old friend from my Aston days) stag do.
We flew out of Gatwick on the Friday morning, and meet the rest of lads (21 of us!) in the old town late afternoon, although by that time we arrived at least five lads were comatose due to the excellent Polish beer and vodka!
For the rest of the day and night was spent in the numerous bars and nightspots in Krakow old town, and can highly recommend the lovely Honey Vodka and the local Zywiec beer.

As is usual for a stag do, we didn't get up until midday the next day as there was a few sore heads in the group.
Drinking started again in the afternoon but at a more leisurely pace with most of the group joined up in the Old Town.
By the early evening as you can imagine a few of the lads after a number of cheeky drinks were a bit on the drunk side.
Around this time we started to get some grief from one of the local Polish bouncers, as I think he was trying to impress his girlfriend who was serving behind the bar.
After a few pleasant words between the two groups we decided to move on to the local McDonalds to line our stomachs and a bit of R&R before the night time activities.

More to follow shortly........

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Wanlip Meadows 6th July 2008

Spent a couple of hours down at Watermead CP North and Wanlip Meadows LRWT on Sunday.

Here is a list of birds I saw down the Soar Valley.

Wanlip Meadows LRWT:
28 Black-tailed Godwits feeding on the scrape until 12.40pm, when the majority were flushed by a Peregrine. Other waders on the scrape included 7 Green Sandpipers, 7 Little Ringed Plovers, 2 Ringed Plovers, 1 Dunlin and 1 Redshank.

Opposite the plover hide, a Grasshopper Warbler was still calling in nearby vegetation.

Watermead CP North:
I noted that at least 10 nest holes were occupied in the Sand Martin bank.