Apr 302017

The Green-winged Orchid is a declining species in Britain. It is a short stemmed orchid preferring specialised limestone grassland and grassy meadow habitat. A very localised plant, but where it is found it forms dense colonies. The flowers grow in a cluster on a single spike and are usually dark purple or pink, sometimes white. The flowers are capped with a hood formed by the sepals which appear lined with green veins, which is where the name comes from. The leaves are narrow, pointed and do not have spots on them, which helps to identify it from Early Purple Orchid in particular. Flowering in Britain from late April till June, it is one of the first Orchids to appear during the spring.

Green-winged OrchidTony Davison© – April 2017

Green-winged Orchid – a Pink variety – Tony Davison© – April 2017

Green-winged Orchid Tony Davison© – 3 more examples – April 2017




 Posted by at 7:29 pm
Apr 242017

Mid April is the time of the year when our local Pied Flycatchers, little black and white jewels, arrive back in the Sessile Oak Woods of Derbyshire’s Peak District. Their arrival also coincides with other early spring migrants such as Redstart, Tree Pipit, Cuckoo, Northern Wheatear and Ring Ouzel and so often leads to a great mornings birding in my home county of Derbyshire, catching up on all these attractive birds. By the end of the morning and a trip onto the moors for Red Grouse, my year list has moved on to 186.


Pied Flycatcher – male – above 5 images of two different birds – Derbyshire – Tony Davison©

Stonechat – male – Derbyshire – Tony Davison©



 Posted by at 6:18 pm
Apr 192017

On our way back from Suffolk, on Monday 17th April, we stopped off at a Wildlife Trust National Nature Reserve near Stamford in Lincolnshire. The reserve is a site for the rare Pasqueflower which, at this time of year, grows alongside Cowslip, in what was once an old limestone quarry, used by the Romans over 1500 years ago. April and May is the best time to see Pasqueflower and there are now only a few sites left in England where we can enjoy this wonderful flower. A fitting end to the Easter weekend.

Pasqueflower – Lincolnshire – Tony Davison© A rare limestone plant that flowers at Easter time.


 Posted by at 8:54 pm
Apr 182017

We spent our Easter weekend in Suffolk, staying at a superb Pub in the quaint village of Dunwich. A few miles from Minsmere, 5 minutes from the National Trust reserve of Dunwich Heath and a short drive to the small towns of Southwold and Aldeburgh. A few hours each day was spent at Minsmere and looking for the rare Dartford Warbler on the heath. Very few migrants seemed to be in and I was a little disappointed in not hearing a Nightingale, I think they are a little late in arriving this year. Bitterns were booming, Bearded Tits were flitting across the reed-beds and several Marsh harrier were quartering the marshes. Plenty of Mediterranean Gulls were paired up and I did manage to see a few Dartford Warbler, despite the unfavourable conditions. A few Sandwich Terns had arrived back along with a single Common Tern and with a brief Water Pipit at Dunwich on the beach area, I managed a few year ticks to boost the Year List to 178.

Dartford Warbler – Dunwich Heath, Suffolk – Easily seen from the public footpaths, but often distant. – Tony Davison©

Avocet – above 5 images – Minsmere, Suffolk – Tony Davison© – There was plenty of Avocet activity on the reserve, as birds start to pair up and stake out their territories

Black-tailed Godwit – above 2 images – Minsmere, Suffolk – Tony Davison© –  These waders look so much better in their summer plumage

Common Pheasant – Minsmere, Suffolk – Tony Davison©

Teal – drake – Minsmere, Suffolk – Tony Davison©



 Posted by at 9:27 pm
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