Jul 222019
 

A few images from my wanderings over recent days.

A recent visit to Wales for Bog Orchid was a bit of a disaster as we struggled to find any at two reliable sites. Managed a few other plants though, including Round-leaved Sundew, Bog Asphodel and Marsh St.John’s-wort. 

A family of Whinchat, a year tick, and a few Red Kites, Common Buzzard and Raven. A few Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary, a Black Darter and a Small Heath.

Round-leaved Sundew
Bog Asphodel
Marsh (Bog) St.John’s-wort

A few trips to my local patch at Staunton Harold Reservoir recently has produced two good Gull year ticks. An adult Caspian Gull on the 18th July and a moulting adult Yellow-legged Gull on 22nd July. Also Common Tern numbers building up with 15 on 22nd July along with 4 Little Egret, a Little Ringed Plover and an Oystercatcher.

 

Common Tern
Common Tern
Yellow-legged Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
 Posted by at 9:01 pm
Jul 082019
 

During the past few weeks I’ve been photographing a few species of available orchids. The best one being Marsh Helleborine, where I had to travel over to Lincolnshire in order to see it.

The Chalk Fragrant Orchids have been re-identified by local experts as Marsh Fragrant Orchid.

The rest of the orchids I’ve managed to see and photograph within fifteen minutes of home. These were Common Spotted, Marsh Fragrant and Common Twayblade. 

A beautiful group of plants, the majority of which are very rare and difficult to see. In some cases almost impossible without some knowledge of location.

I have lived at my property for some 35 years and for the very first time this year, I’ve had a Common Spotted Orchid naturally growing in my front lawn. I real treat and pleasing event. I’m letting it go to seed in the hope that a few more may appear next year. (see the last image)

Marsh Helleborine
Marsh Helleborine
Marsh Helleborine
Common Spotted Orchid
Common Spotted Orchid
Marsh Fragrant Orchid
Marsh Fragrant Orchid
Common Twayblade
Common Twayblade
Common Twayblade
Common Spotted Orchid growing in my front lawn
 Posted by at 8:18 pm
Jun 202019
 

A Black-winged Pratincole was discovered at RSPB Frampton Marsh in Lincolnshire on Tuesday 18th June 2019. However the bird disappeared late afternoon and there was no further sight by dusk. It turned up again during the morning of 19th so I decided to go for it. Arrive at around 1pm and the bird was on view and showed well on and off in flight and on the ground.

Always a bit distant for the camera, along with heat haze so only record shots, but managed to get a few that show all the subtle field ID features.

This was a first record for Frampton reserve and my 3rd Black-winged Pratincole for Britain. A superb bird that appeared like a huge swallow and very raptor like as it swooped over the marshes hunting insects. The main ID features are grey-brown upper parts, black underwings, no white trailing edge to wings, limited amount of red on the bill, extensive black lores and the tail is shorter than the wing tips. 

 

Note the tail is shorter than wing tips
Note black underwings
A typical fly-by of a pratincole
 Posted by at 8:24 pm
Jun 172019
 

During the past few days I have spent sometime with local Orchids and have seen 1 new species and 1 new variant of Bee Orchid, Wasp Orchid. All with a few miles or so of my house. I even found a Common Spotted Orchid growing in one of the lawns at the front of my house. Totally unexpected but what a great thrill to find this self setter. Goodness knows where it has come from, but they can take up to 4 years to germinate. It seems to me to be a good year for orchids right across the country. It just goes to show that if you leave your lawn and let nature do the work, you can soon end up with a miniature biosphere on your doorstep and a lawn covered in a multitude of insect loving plants.

My Orchid hunting began at my local patch at Staunton Harold, where I found a number of Common Spotted and Southern Marsh Orchid. Some of the Southern Marsh appear to be hybrids, as they have spotted leaves. I also found a number of spikes of Bee Orchid in the wild flower meadows. So it is a particularly good Orchid year here at Staunton Harold.

Over the weekend I went to see a Lizard Orchid that has been discovered growing on a roadside verge in nearby Leicestershire. This was a new orchid species for me and what a stunning plant. In nearby Staffordshire I made a visit to see a Wasp Orchid, a very rare variant of Bee Orchid. Again growing in a public place on the village green. An extremely attractive Orchid that rounded off a superb few days of plant twitching.

Common Spotted Orchid growing on the lawn in front of my house
Common Spotted Orchid – Staunton Harold, Derbyshire
Southern Marsh Orchid – Staunton Harold, Derbyshire
Southern Marsh Orchid – Staunton Harold, Derbyshire
Bee Orchid – Staunton Harold, Derbyshire
Bee Orchid, Leicestershire
Bee Orchid – Leicestershire
Lizard Orchid – Leicestershire
Lizard orchid – Leicestershire
Wasp Orchid – Leicestershire
Wasp Orchid – Leicestershire
Wasp Orchid – Leicestershire
 Posted by at 7:55 pm
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