Sunday, 3 May 2009

Indiana Dave and chase of the Lark, Spider and Lady!?!

Two shots of Lady Orchids and
four shots of Early Spider Orchid included
the rare form Var.flavescens.

Leaving Leicester at around 6.00am, myself, Ben Croxtall and Pete Jessop arrived at Dungeness just after 9.00am. The first target of the day was the long staying Crested Lark which had been at this site for the last few days.
Within ten minutes of leaving the car we saw the Lark fly over our heads as it landed in the area which the locals call "the desert". The bird was quite mobile for the next couple of hours as it flew around the desert being moved by the large crowd of twitchers.
Then after a short period of time Ben suddenly picked up the lark slowly walking over a piece of shingle. With more directions from Ben the group finally saw the Lark on the deck. Get in Crested Lark OMFL!!!
Pleased with finally seeing the bird on the deck we decided to have a look on the sea with hopefully seeing the odd Skua or Shearwater going by?
Watching the sea over the next half an hour turned out to be quite disappointed. The only highlights we saw included a small group of Common Scoters, a few Sandwich Terns and a Harbour Porpoise passing the point.
Happy with what we saw at Dungeness, we moved on Samphire Hoe, near Dover to add another Orchid to my British list.
The target here was Early Spider Orchid (ESO) and this site is probably the best site in the UK to see this rare species.
From the car park I noticed straight away a few ESO by the car park fence, then moving further along the footpath next to the Channel Tunnel rail link we saw loads more ESOs (1,000+) in the surrounding area.
Also at this site is the rare form of ESO var.flavescens, and with help from my fellow orchid hunter Sean Cole via the phone, I soon found three plants of this form in the nearby vegetation.
With another target under the belt we decided to move onto West Denge Woods, near Canterbury for another target species in the form Duke of Burgundy butterfly and possible Lady Orchid?
After getting lost in the minor roads of Kent it took us about an hour to find the site.
Parking at the southern entrance to the wood, we were soon walking down the path to Bonsai bank, the area were Duke of Burgundy Butterfly occurred.
Possible as we got to the wood a little bit late the butterfly active was very quiet, but we did find good numbers of emerging Lady Orchids, Common Twayblade, Early Purple Orchid and a single Common Spotted Orchid on the "Bonsai Bank".
As it was now getting on for six o'clock in the evening we decided to call it a day and took a leisurely drive back to Leicester, but pleased we had scored with most of the targets of the day.
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