Friday, 31 August 2012

Spotted Crake

Here is some footage of one of the Spotted Crakes at Birstall Meadows last week via my mate John Hague:

Also here is a couple of rubbish digishots of the bird by me!

Purple patch!

Well over the last week or so on the local patch it has been quite interesting on the birding front and also here is an update on the interesting Helleborine in NW Leicestershire from my mate Sean Cole.

 At least two or maybe three Spotted Crakes have been at Birstall Meadows (25/8/12).
There has been two Whinchats and a Redstart (female/Juv) at Cossington Meadows for most of last week.  And Possible the bird of last week was a brief female-type Pied Flycatcher at Watermead CP North on Sunday 19th. Nearby on Wanlip Meadows scrape on the same day was a Spotted Redshank and five Ruffs!

Also here is some comments of the Interesting Helleborines from my mate Sean:
My observations of the current state of Helleborines there is as follows:
1. There are mostly completely standard, well-within morphological range plants there, whether they are in deep shade, woodland edge, or in the slightly more open areas

2. The other types there are as follows:

a. "neerlandica". These occur in the coppiced area next to the ride that runs parallel and closest to, the road. Neerlandica is just a variant of standard BLH, and is characterized by having rather pointed leaves, bunched at the base of the stem, allowing the flower spike to develop above it - a bit like Sword-leaved hell. It seems to do this as a result of growing in the open. Whilst the truest neerlandica grow in dune slacks, this is just an ecological extension of this type of BLH. There is no scientific value in this type of BLH. Interestingly at xxxx wood, these were the only ones that had been vistually fully polinated by wasps - almost every other plant I saw today remained unvisited.

b. "youngiana". This is a spurious variant anyway, in my opinion, but certainly has a type appearance: small with unusually large flowers which are a baby pink, soft furry leaves which are usually small and few. Tends to grow in deep shade. Can be partially self-pollinated. There is at least one plant to the left of the path that goes to the road from the bench - the northernmost entry from the road. If you came in to the wood from there, it would be on your right, a couple of feet in from the path, between the boardwalk and the main ride.

c. "viridiflora" a single plant, nearly over, on the edge of the coppice as in a. above.

d. ununsual no. 1 - fisrt plant in the same area above, nearest to the path, first one and on the edge of the last trees/open coppice. behind two common spotteds. This is a pale-flowered, but otherwise normal plant, but unusually it shows clean green base to the pedicels of the flowers. This is a feature of Narrow-lipped and Green-flowered, and is mooted as a way of actually identifying those two species. Only viridiflora BLH should have this. As such, this is a unique plant in all the BLH I've ever seen.

e. unusual no.2. This is the Narrow-lipped type on the other ride parallel to the road.This requires a whole email of its own! To all intents and purposes, this is a Narrow-lipped helleborine, or perhaps a "tyne" helleborine of the Dune hell complex. However, it is the only plant of its type within a large colony of BLH, is growing next to BLH, and is 100 miles out of range of either of the other possibilities. I therefore have to conclude it is an extreme variant BLH for now, and we should not get excited at all. It also has pinkish bases to the pedicels - but see above.

So reading between the lines I may have found a new orchid species for Leicestershire or may have not?!

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

More Broad-leaved Helleborines!

Here is a few more photos of the Broad-leaved Helleborines in NW Leicestershire. As you can see an interesting range of plants!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Caspian Gulls at a site near you!

Following on from an excellent id section in Martin Garner's Birding Frontiers blog about Caspian Gulls. I decided to revisit some photos I took last year of the Caspian-type gulls at Watermead CP South and Albert Village Lake.
I am now happy with the intial ID of these birds and maybe I should be more confident on my own convinctions!

Here is a few shots of the birds I have been talking about: