Monday 31 May 2021

More Rare (and common) Flowers

Pink Water-speedwell - lots of this growing around the dragonfly ponds, on Aylesbeare Common. Much of it on dry ground, away from the water's edge.

Singing male Cuckoos on both Aylesbeare and Woodbury Common in the last two days, have been the avian highlights. There have been many more plant highlights. Today Lu and I had a lovely day out, completing a loop that took in a trip to Dad's grave in Highweek, lunch in Totness and 'stop-offs' at Staverton and Trago Mills. A big thank you to Kev for Dusky Crane's-bill and Monk's-hood info, and to Dave for the Bastard Balm gen.

Bog Bean - Aylesbeare Common.

I think I saw more Pale Dog-violets than Common Dog-violets on Aylesbeare Common yesterday...

One of the 'low-to-the-ground' small willow species - Woodbury Common.

Lots of Southern Marsh Orchids out on Colaton Raleigh Common. I gently squeezed the stems of several, in the vain hope they'd be hollow, but none were so not Early Marsh Orchid - hope I'm right in thinking that...

Think this is Fern Grass.

Bastard Balm - Chudleigh. I've got Dave Smallshire to thank for this. What a flower!

As we were driving past Trago, we popped in to look at the impressive display of hundreds of Bee Orchid - a remarkable sight.

Monk's-hood - also known as Wolf's -bane. This is apparently a highly poisonous plant, containing aconitine - a lethal neurotoxin and cardiotoxin. I was careful not to touch it, although I believe the toxins are mainly concentrated in the root system. Kev put me on to this - growing alongside a stream on the outskirts of Staverton - an area where I believe it's more likely to be 'wild' rather than a garden escape. Cheers Kev!

Lesser Periwinkle - growing in huge swathes along the lane.

Hedgerow Crane's-bill - Staverton.

Pink Purslane - lots of this in clumps along the lane.

Dusky Crane's-bill - Staverton - an breathtakingly gorgeous flower.

Saturday 29 May 2021

The Chilterns

Monkey Orchid - Hartslock Reserve, Berkshire.

A wonderful day out today, with Kev, in the Chilterns. The focus was flowers but there were many other distractions. The highlights were, of course, the famous Orchids with eight species (and a hybrid) seen - Monkey Orchid, White Helleborine, Common Twayblade, Military Orchid, Early Purple Orchid, Fly Orchid, Bird's-nest Orchid and Common Spotted Orchid (basal rosettes only). Kev saw the basal rosette of Greater Butterfly Orchid at Homefield too.






A view of the Thames from Hartslock Reserve.

The cold spring is surely responsible for these gorgeous Pasque Flowers still being out.

Salad Burnet (and below).

Carline Thistle.

Horseshoe Vetch.

Common Rock-rose.

Wavy-barred Sable Pyrausta nigrata - several of these day-flying micros were seen at Hartslock.

Red Kites were, of course, a feature of our day in the Chilterns, but we also logged a couple Garden Warblers, Lesser Whitethroat, 2 or 3 Sedge Warblers,  3 or 4 Marsh Tits (family group) and a singing Corn Bunting (from the car).

Fairy Flax.

Common Blue.

 Common Fumitory.

Musk Thistle.

Bastard Toadflax - expertly located by Kev, but sadly not yet in flower...

Wayfaring Tree.

Small Heath on Changing Forget-me-not - Hartslock.

Lots of Banded Demoiselle on the wing along the Thames.

Summer Snowflake - also known as Lodden Lilly.

Quaking Grass - Hartslock.

Meadow Crane's-bill.

Lady or Monkey x Lady (and below).

Monkey x Lady Orchid hybrid. Apparently the only place in the UK where this combination occurs.

Common Twayblades were found at both Hartslock and Homefield.

Military Orchid - Homefield Wood, Buckinghamshire.

Muntjack Deer.

Brassica Shieldbugs on Hedge Mustard - Homefield Wood.

Early Purple Orchid - Homefield Wood.

Fly Orchid - Homefield Wood. A big thank you to the kind Wildlife Trust volunteer, who pointed Kev and I in the direction of this stunning flower.

Spurge Laurel.

White Helleborines were easily located in shady Beech woodland at both Hartslock and Homefield.

This was the most open flower we saw.

After fruitless hours searching locally for this species, I was so excited to finally clap eyes on the rare and enigmatic Bird's-nest Orchid - just amazing...

Grizzled Skipper.

Dingy Skipper.