Wednesday, 1 July 2009

"Life on the Verge" surveys!!

Greater Knapweed near Saltby

Saltby Airfield outcrop
Two photos of the rare form
Var.chlorantha Bee Orchid

Over the last few days (Saturday and Yesterday)I have been completing a few plant surveys for the "Life on the Verge" wildflower project (see the Link). The areas I have checked out included near Pickworth in Rutland and around Saltby Village in Leicestershire.
Although I'm a bit of novice when it comes to identifying most wildflowers, the guide supplied by the project helped greatly.
The highlights I found included small numbers of Bee Orchids,Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids at Pickworth and Pyramidal and Bee Orchids at Saltby.
At the nearby former RAF Saltby airfield I also checked out the limestone outcrop here and to my surprise I found the best bit of Limestone flora I have ever seen in Leicestershire!! Highlights here included a record count of over 170 Bee Orchids and the cherry on cake for me was finding a single plant of the rare form Var.chlorantha Bee Orchid. This is probably the first ever record for Vc 55, so to say I was pleased was a bit of an understatement!?

Over the next couple of weeks I will checking a few more sites for this project, and hopefully more interesting sightings to come?
Finally on the birding front I did also see a Turtle Dove and Spotted Flycatcher at Saltby, so sometimes it does help to go off the beaten track to find scarce migrants in the county.
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