Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bee Orchids and other flora

Over the weekend I took part in the mini bio-blitz at Ketton Quarry LRWT with the Pork Pie posse, Skev, the Llama and Adrian Russell.
Flora highlights I saw on and around the reserve included up to thirty Bee Orchids,and good numbers of Common Spotted Orchids and Common Twayblade.
Just before getting to Ketton I also checked out the road verges near South Luffenham and found 289 Pyramidal Orchids spikes, a couple of Common Spotted Orchids and two Knapweed Broomrape spikes.

Friday, 25 June 2010

More photos of the Lount A42 site

Here is a few more photos of the Lount site.

Life on the Verge and Thousands and Thousands!

Over the last couple days away from work I been doing some plant surveys for the Life on the Verge(check the link) project in the east of the county and also checked out the A42 roundabout (former Lount opencast pit operations) site.
With the surveys most of the verges I covered were of a poor quality for Limestone flora, but however I did find a good section not far from Saltby village along the ancient walkway "The Drift" with the highlight here being good numbers of Viper's Bugloss and 12 different plants species which indicates good Limestone flora.
Over the next few weeks I will be doing more surveys for this excellent project and will update regular on what I see and find?

Changing the subject slightly following my previous visit to A42 Lount former opencast site, I had a better look at this site. As I had said previously this site contains thousands and thousands of Orchids and this time I made a rough count of maybe up to 20,000 spikes on this site!! Talking to Andrew Allen about this site via the phone it does sound that this site might be a conservation issue in the making as Leicestershire County Council are suing UK Coal to return this site to its former self. Maybe I'm a bit biased but I wouldn't want this site returning to its former self and I believe that this site needs saving for the people of Leicestershire!?
Any way I will step down from my soap box and if I heard any more about this site I will let you know?

Monday, 21 June 2010

Leicestershire Orchids: Southern Marsh Orchids, Common Spotted Orchids,Heath Spotted Orchids and some hybrids!

Following some info from Andrew Allen, I checked out a new site for me near the A42 Ashby roundabout on a former opencast pit site.
Walking around this former industrial site the one thing I did notice was the thousands and thousands of Southern Marsh Orchids,Common Spotted Orchids,Heath Spotted Orchids and there hybrids! Some of the plants were at least two foot tall!!
I also noted a few calcareous-type plants like Yellow-wort and Greater Knapweed which is actually quite rare on this side of the county.
I also noted some orchids which did look very much like Northern Marsh Orchid, but I need to do some research on them as this could be a new record for the county?!
With the numbers of Orchids and the rich calcareous flora I will contact LRWT about this site and just wonder if it's on there radar or not?!

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Leicestershire Orchids: Frog,Heath,Bee and Pyramidal.

With a day off from work, I went and did a bit of orchid hunting in my home county. The orchids I found included Common Spotted Orchid, Heath Spotted Orchid, Frog Orchid, Bee Orchid and Pyramidal Orchid.
The first site I visited was Merry's Meadow LRWT, near Cottesmore airfield. The reason to look at this site is that it's the only site in Vc 55(Leicestershire and Rutland) for the rare Frog Orchid!
Checking the usual spot for the Frogs I was pleasantly surprised to find at least five spikes in the surrounding vegetation.
Other orchids I found at this reserve included good numbers of Heath Spotted Orchids and a couple of Common Spotted Orchids. The only minus point on visiting the reserve was that I couldn't find any of the Chalk Fragrant Orchids which I had find in previous years.
I then moved on to Clipsham Park Wood on the Rutland/Lincs border to look for Greater Butterfly Orchid. At this site I found loads of Common Spotted Orchids in the Yew Avenue and three Heath Spotted Orchids in the nearby rides, but after much searching no sign of the Butterfly Orchids!
I also made a mental note about this site as it looks brilliant for Hawfinch and possible Crossbill in the winter!?!
My last destination of the day was the very under watched Saltby Airfield.
At this site last year I found record numbers for the county of Bee Orchids and Pyramidal Orchids so hopefully I was expecting the same again?
Although parts of the site are private you can view most of it from the nearby footpaths and bridle ways. So over the next couple of hours I found 23 Pyramidal Orchid spikes and at least 48 Bee Orchids plants. Most of the orchids were still in bud and will probably be at there best in the next couple of weeks so I will searching this site again in the very near future?!


Monday, 14 June 2010

More Orchids...Fly,Man and the odd Broomrape!

Following my previous visit to Wakerley Woods I checked this site again yesterday for a better look. Well over a couple of hours of searching this site I found at least ten Fly Orchids and a couple of Common Twayblades.

Moving on to the well know Barnack NNR (see the Link) which was less than ten miles away, the objective here was to take photos of the good numbers of Man Orchids which occur at this site. After a short walk on to the reserve it wasn't long before I spotted the distinctive shape of a Man Orchid. So over the next hour or so I took numerous photos of the Man Orchids and also the newly emerging Fragrant Orchids and Pyramidal Orchids.
At this site I also noted some rare plants for the region which included Pasque Flower and small numbers of Knapweed Broomrape.
For the rest of the day I spent time looking at a few sites on the Leics/Lincs/Rutland border for more orchids and Knapweed Broomrape.
Sightings here included 11 spikes of the Broomrapes near Essendine, good numbers of Pyramidal Orchids on the border line(Little Warren road verges) and fifty + spikes of Southern Marsh Orchids at Pickworth A1 triangle.
The only disappointment of the day was not finding any Bee orchids at these sites, but I got a feeling that probably from last year's record year, Bee Orchids are going to be thin on the ground and the dry winter and April did not help!

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

So close yet so far! White Helleborine and Fly Orchid near Leicestershire!!

With info from fellow orchid hunters Andy Warne and Brian Laney I checked out a couple of sites very close to Leicestershire border. The first site I went to was East Carlton CP just west of Corby for White Helleborines.
With excellent directions from Andy I soon found at least 30 plants under the nearby Beech trees and surrounding vegetation in the south-east corner of the park. As usual I took a number of photos of this understated orchid.
The next site on my evening trip was Wakerley Woods which is just east of Wakerley village and about a mile over the border from Rutland. The orchid I was looking for was Fly Orchid.
Over the next hour or so it took me ages to find the orchids as I parked in the wrong place and miss read the directions from Brian and Andy. Walking along the verge next to the wood I finally found a orchid in the form of a Greater Butterfly Orchid, and then realised I must be in the right place? Retracing my steps with help of the directions I finally stumbled across two Fly Orchids just inside the wood from the roadside verge.
As my Nikon coolpix had ran out of battery power at East Carlton CP, I had to take photos of the Fly Orchids via my mobile phone!
Although I got very wet during the evening it pleasing to find two orchids very close to home and just wished the sites were a couple of miles the other side of the county boundary!!

Monday, 7 June 2010

Wales for the weekend?

Here is a few photos I took on the twitch for the Marmora's Warbler and the little rugby game on the Saturday! These include Sean the Sheep,a couple of shots at the Wales v South Africa game, a Slow Worm we found at Nagshead RSPB and probably the best shot you will see of the Marmora's Warbler!!

Greater Butterfly Orchid at Cloud Wood LRWT

Nipped over to Cloud Wood LRWT yesterday to check out the Greater Butterfly Orchids. In the usual spot my self and fellow orchid hunter Sean Cole found at least twenty flowering plants and at least another forty non-flowering plants. Other orchids I saw in the wood included a single Common Twayblade and good numbers of Early Purple Orchids which most had gone over by now!

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Marmora's OMFL!!

Just a few words and to say Marmora's Warbler OFML!! Get In!
The account of the Welsh weekend to follow in the next day or so as I'm going to Wales again today for a little rugby game and seconds with the warbler!

Friday, 4 June 2010

Over the week: Bio-blitz, Purple patch and some orchids

For the last few days since the Bank Holiday I have been working my socks off at the General Hospital, so that the why of lack of updates on my blog!
Any way over the last week I have been involved in Leicester wildlife group bird race around the city and my group of birding cyclists saw 62 species in the city boundaries. Although it wasn't the winning total (we lost by four species to John's International crew) and the weather was pants on the Saturday it was still a very enjoyable day!
Over the same weekend I also did my bit for the Bio-Blitz down at Watermead CP and noted around 70 bird species in the two sections of the country park. Highlights included the long staying Red-crested Pochard and the drake Garganey at Watermead CP South and two hawking Hobbies at Watermead CP North.

At the present moment Leicestershire seems to be having a real purple patch on the birding front, with two county firsts(Buff-breasted Sandpiper and Broad-billed Sandpiper) in the space of a few days, and a good number of quality birds like the Blue-winged Teal at Groby Pool, a singing Wood Warbler,a Spoonbill in the Soar Valley,3 Firecrests in Charnwood, two White-winged Black Terns at Rutty, and loads of unusual waders at a number of sites! So I just wonder what is going to turn up next?.... may be something like a Bridled Tern would be nice!?!

On the orchid front I checked out a couple of sites in the last day or so and at the moment nothing to show but will be concentrating more on this in the next few weeks.