Showing posts from 2018

More Orchids

Friday 8th - Sunday 10th June 2018
Some Lizard Orchid photos from a (the) SW site I visited at the weekend showing the extraordinary flowers on these robust plants.

On Sunday, only a single Marsh Fritillary was seen at Strawberry Banks near Chalford - they seem to having a bad year here. The Lesser Butterfly Orchids were doing better. In nearby woodland I found a good group of Bird's-nest Orchids, the flowers going over now. Also a couple of presumably Broad-leaved Helleborine plants springing up.

I also caught up with Chalk Fragrant Orchids recently in the Stroud area, lots of them, along with some Fly Orchids and hybrid Bee x Fly specimens. Also lots of Adonis and Small Blues.

Chiltern Orchids

Saturday 19th May 2018

On royal wedding day, I left Mrs M watching the telly and headed off east for the day. My first stop was Hartslock near Goring-on-Thames in Oxfordshire. The Monkey Orchids were looking fantastic, and I counted getting on for 20. The single Lady Orchid was past its prime, but two or three flowers recalled its full beauty. The most numerous by far are the Lady x Monkey hybrids, tall vigorous plants numbering around a hundred give or take. Some of the Pasqueflowers  were still in flower, some still in bud even - I was expecting them to have all gone to seed by now. Butterflies on the wing included Grizzled Skippers, Dingy Skippers, Green Hairstreakes, Orange-tips, Green-veined Whites, Small Whites and Brimstones. Also a Common Carpet moth. This is a beautiful reserve, affording wonderful views of the Thames and surrounding landscape. I also stumbled across George Michael's house in the village, complete with a plethora of tributes. I wonder if George was aware …

Cotswold Orchids and a Garden Hobby

Monday 7th - Tuesday 15th May 2018

Recently I have caught up with Fly Orchids and Sword-leaved Helleborines in the Cotswolds, the latter being a threatened and particularly scarce species in the UK. I have only previously seen Sword-leaved Helleborine, also known as Narrow-leaved Helleborine, in Switzerland, where it more common. Fly Orchid, a close relative of the Bee Orchid, are more widespread but with a localised distribution and not one I have seen before. Both are exquisitely beautiful and very special plants.

On 7th I had a Hobby fly over the garden and managed a couple of hurried record shots of this garden tick. A Coal Tit was a surprise garden visitor on 15th as I haven't seen one in the garden since the early spring.

Forest Hawfinch in Garden

Sunday 8th April 2018
As Hawfinches continue to visit my garden, I have had an email back from Jerry Lewis on a ringed male seen on 8th April (one of at least five different individuals seen): "this bird ringed by me [Jerry] (as an adult) on 08/04/2016, Nr Cinderford, so a decent movement. metal = NW76417 colour = orange IL. (First record since ringed)" fascinating stuff.

Lots of Garden Thrushes and another Hawfinch

Thursday 1st - Friday 2nd March 2018
A different male Hawfinch arrived on the garden bird table on Thursday morning at 8.20am just as I was leaving for work and as it was snowing.

On Friday I worked at home having decided not to venture out in the thick snow. The apples I put out created a frenzy among visiting Fieldfares, no less than 18 of them. Two or three of them, and one in particular, spent an awful amount of time trying to defend the apples and very very aggressive towards not only the other Fieldfares but anything else that posed a threat including seven Redwings, two Blackbirds, and a Song Thrush which were tolerated in the main as long as they sat quietly at a safe distant. Othe birds in the garden included a male Great Spotted Woodpecker, nine Wood Pigeons, 37 Chaffinches (but no Bramblings yet!), 14 Greenfinches and four Starlings.