Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Birdies, Butterflies and Orchids (17th July 2017)

Monday 17th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1200hrs

The weather was again beautiful and I trotted out of the sunny light filled fields and into the darkest but yet wonderful of woodland with lots of little shadows of unidentified birds flitting from one tree to another but did not give away their identity by their calls, because this morning the calls were absent and they remained silent. I had only been under the canopy for some 20 or 30 yards in when I could see lots of feathers on the floor and instantly I recognised a couple of Jay feathers, you probably know the one I mean that beautiful light blue and black (shown below) and lots more primary and secondary feathers as well.  I was then stood there trying to work out what on earth was the predator, I gave thought to Peregrine, Buzzard but the most likely would have been the large female Sparrowhawk who could deal with something of this size together with the canopy restrictions and probably the Sparrowhawk (female) would have been the best bet, but we will never know for sure.  

Jay feathers found on 17th (ignore 15th on label) - Click over to enlarge
Coming out of that dark area and you were met with sudden sunlight glaring at you just light being in the "spotlight", yet at the same time I was hearing those beautiful little birds in the tree just above me. I could not see them but pictured them in their "guardsman hoods" but I could certainly get immediate identification by the very unique explosive, strong attentive echoing T'CHAY, TCHAY - of course it was the Marsh Tits, we have a family just around this spot and I get them regularly, its such a pleasure to see them enjoying themselves flitting in the canopy. I guess we do have maybe 3 or 4 breeding pairs on this side of Hutton Roof. 

It was now time like it is on so many days to set off with a plod and a very controlled slow paced ascend of this terrain which by now I think I should know every nook and cranny and trying to avoid the slippy bits here and there caused through mossy stones or slippery dead fallen branches or twigs which have somehow got in the way. 

The regular Chiffchaff was just about making a faint broken tinkling call but you could just about make it out as a broken call of the little Warbler.

Nasty "Clegg" flies were attacking you as you again came out into the open areas.  They are proper Mega nasties and before you notice they are on you they have done their damage and draw blood straight away.  I believe they are a type of horse fly and I have had mates put in hospital with these lads, but if I can manage it I will mutter to them something like "kill thi a will" and follow this with a swipe, sometimes they fall to the floor dead (as a door nail!) but more often than not get away to live another day. As if its not bad enough swiping ticks of my pants every half hour and trying my best to give them the best head ache they have ever had! - I guess its all part of nature's pleasures!!

Overhead Swallows saying hello in a twitter which might has well be a foreign language but so so nice, heading South to North on their daily rounds of the local area. Grayling's seem to be everywhere this year and flying past and then down and topple over that's their way I guess "they always seem to land sunny side up"! I even had one scrapping with a Small Tortoiseshell.  Also lots of Small Skippers which must have hatched in the last few days

A family party of five Ravens "honking" away high up heading South, don't know if they are our local group or whether they are foreigners, all of a sudden being drowned out with flying low level aircraft (a frightening noise which always catches you out! and sounds worse when you are not ready for it) but soon back to the Ravens honking - that's a far better noise!

On my way back down later I called off at Ducketts builders to see how their Swifts were doing and I just had the four aerial birds which probably meant with sitters there could be at least three nest. It can be a hard place to count because there are also Swallows and Martins nesting there which is brilliant! but all of a sudden my mind was taken over by a aerial "kekking" and looking up could see Peregrine Mum and Peregrine youngster with mum giving instruction.  But what really stood out to me was that although the skies were empty some minutes earlier, all of a sudden the skies were filled with scores and scores of hirundines and Swifts as though all the birds of Burton had landed here at Clawthorpe, I guess its a question of safety in numbers! but how on earth had they all got the message and got here so quickly!! 

Now back to serious stuff with the orchids. Not that much to see but what you see is the best.  

Today I went back up because I wanted to make sure that Specimen 74 (Lempet with White Epi/bos) was made more safe, so swopped over one of the large cages from over at the 9s where most of those plants were now going over and brought it along to 74.  So here you are with 74 in its new cage setting.

Specimen 74 made more safe from Brown Hares and Deer
(Click over to enlarge)
Specimen 74 on 17th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Variagated on 17th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Above is showing our rare "variagated specimen" which has just straightened up and in line with the timings of other helleborines. Can't wait for it to flower in the next few days. Don't worry I will post the outcome soon I hope!

Sunday, 16 July 2017

First Broad Leaved Helleborine of the Year (16th July 2017)

Sunday 16th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1400hrs

For the last few days its been Green Woodpecker (yaffle!), Green Woodpecker (yaffle!) and Green Woodpecker (yaffle!), wherever I seem to have gone the "undulating flying" chappie has never been far away giving it all.  I think there must be plenty of young birds about this year (a good year), but no problem because we have loads and loads of ants (yellow ones) ready for you!

Odd calls (very quiet and subdued) of hou-whit, hou-whit will have come from either the Willow Warbler or its cousin the Chiffchaff. 

Lots of Butterflies today with Small Skippers (several), Small Heaths (several), Ringlets (lots and lots) Meadow Browns (several) Speckled Wood (one), Dark Green Fritillary (two), Graylings (lots)  - they (the Graylings) still do it! land and then after a split second fall on their side.  I also had one of the large dragonflies hawking over the bracken, talk about flitty you really had to keep your eyes on him.  I am sure the one in question is called "Gold Ringed Dragonfly". 

Mr. Hare you naughty boy! you have been at it yet again - today he's taken out that beautiful Schmalhausenii 70 and 70a (and left 70a with the lovely cherry red plume dangling to rot away!) and also he has taken out another hybrid 17q. So we will miss out on the propogation yet again!

Sometimes the ground was carpetted with Self Heal, Eyebright, Wild Thyme, Tormentil and lots and lots of Hawkweeds.  You felt guilty having to walk over them, so now and again you tried to "hopscotch".  I did check on some Montanums and also some Pulchrums!

First Helleborine of the Year - They always say small is beautiful (Click over to enlarge)

Besides the "Orchid Fields" this pavement below was also my garden today but I do wonder if with age it is getting a bit more wrinkled as time goes on!

My first Broad Leaved Helleborine of the year was showing today and it was a miniature - "they always say small is beautiful".  It only measured about 6" high. Just for if you notice one of the flowers is actually "upside down" - well don't worry it should straighten up with time. They do start off like this and correct themselves later. The majority of the helleborines here have not even straightened out yet! although a few of them are doing today.

My first helleborine of the year (Click to enlarge)

Shows in close up (Click to enlarge)
Went up today specially to check out Specimen 74 which is a Lemon-Petalled (Lempet) but whats more special is that the epichile and bosses are white.  It always come through the same and the plant is under canopy. The deer had predated everything around it a couple of weeks ago and I am pleased at least for now they have left this special one alone.

Specimen 74 Lempet on 16th July 2017

Could not resist peering down the gryke to check out one of our rare Southern Polypody ferns. It's always a late starter and you can just see the young ferns are starting to unravel and before long they will develop into that beautiful "Deltoid" shape.

Southern Polypody fern (Polypodium cambricum) - Click over to enlarge

Friday, 14 July 2017

A Scollie "Crispum" and a whole lot of Hypericums (14th July 2017)

And this is the "special one" a Scollie "Crispum" which I only found in late 2016 (Click over to enlarge)

I decided today to have a change from orchids since it is quickly coming to a end with the Atrorubens! and a little window before all the hard work really starts, trying to work out things of what has been going on with the many varieties and hybrids etc.  And I would suspect and it will be at least ten days before our "helleborines" are in flower and then I will be up studying both the "Purpurea" and the "Chorantha's".  The helleborines are just at the point of starting to straighten out. Although I have been looking at photos of helleborines from down South in full flower from about a week ago, so you can see that ours are at least three weeks later (and that does not say that ours are late it will be right on cue for us).

So today I only have a hour or so spare I decided to quickly go and check some goodies which I could easily get good access to run with my timetable.

I checked out a couple of ferns and a whole lot of hypericums.

The fern I had particularly in mind was the new young (in fact baby 6") Scollie "Crispum" (shown in the photo header above) or if you do want it officially here we go Asplenium Scolopendrium "Crispum" or simply Harts Tongue Fern variety Crispum.  And whilst on my way up the Crags called in to have a check on the Marginatum a lovely serrated edge specimen.  So here are the photos:

Scollie "Marginatum" (Click over to enlarge)
Showing the "Marginatum" frond close up (Click over to enlarge)
Going back to the Crispum (header photo), it's of special interest to one or two people besides me and my fernie friend Alec because if this is proved to be a crispum which all the indicators are pointing in that direction - it will mean that 4 separate Crispum's have been found on Hutton Roof (of which 3 have been found in Dalton Crags).  Not bad when you consider the average find for one of these crispum's is one in every twenty years! and Dalton alone will have produced three in two years already!  The fronds on this one at present are only at about 6" so we will see how it comes out in a month or two on!

Whilst in Dalton Crags I thought I would check up on the Hypericums especially on the rare "Montanums" (the Pale St. John's Wort) Our third colony of Montanums has only produced two plants with flowerheads this year plus there are some two others which will not mature at all.  But saying that it's still not so bad - read on please!.

Because I soon got a very pleasant surprise, when I started looking around and maybe some 30 yards away from the earlier mentioned when I found another four plants all in flower in separate but reasonably near to one another locations, looked good plants tall sturdy.  Here is a photo of one of the flowerheads to give you some idea.

A new discovery today - More of the Montanums
(Click over to enlarge)
So that was the start of my "Scollie" morning and there is more, because I thought maybe if I traverse the area I know which I call "Hypericum Way" in Dalton Crags, there would be more of the hypericums on offer and sure enough I was not to be disappointed.  But just before that I had yet even more surprises when I found a small colony of the WHITE "Self Heal" plant flowering in Dalton Crags.

What made this more special for me was that I read a book several years ago written back in 1920 by Wilson and Wheeldon which gave old records of the local area and it was then mentioned that the rare White Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris) had been found "close to Dalton Hall" on the Dalton Hall Estate.  So that was almost 100 years ago. Although I have found some already in Lancelot (a couple of years ago), but up until today had never found any on the Dalton Hall Estate so this means a lot because I wonder if it relates to the same colony which was recorded all them years ago by Wilson! definately worth considering..... here is a photo of today's find.

Rare "WHITE" Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris) on Dalton Crags today
Click over to enlarge)

So following on I hit "Hypericum Way" and was not disappointed to find found "Tutson" (androsaemum), "Slender" (pulcrum), "Hairy" (hirsutum) and finally "Perforated" (perforatum)

Tutson or (hypericum androsaemum) today (Click over to enlarge)

Slender or (hypericum pulcrum) today Click over to enlarge

My favourite! Hairy or (hypericum hirsutum) today
Click over to enlarge.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Small Skipper Butterfly, Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly and more Orchids (13th July 2017)

Small Skipper on Betony today (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 13th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1300hrs

Butterflies today included Small Skipper in Lancelot, also lots of Ringlets, Common Blue, Meadow Browns, Dark Green Fritillary and several of the beautiful Grayling - landing and then quickly toppling on their side!

A very special species today was a Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly which Robert Ashworth had over on Uberash Breast.  Its a beautiful lemon coloured dragonfly which I also had over on Lancelot a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to Robert for photo.

Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly seen on Uberash Breast, Hutton Roof today
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Robert Ashworth (Kendal)

Most of the atrorubens are going over very fast now and I would reckon some 50% are now at the stage of preparing to seed, although there are still one or two specials still about and this is one of the little beauties which are within the area of 55.  This is a small probable hybrid and named 65g. It lies about 2 metre from the albiflora. In the 55 area we do have 5 of the small (light green stemmed) plants. 

Specimen 65g on 13th July 2017 (Click to enlarge)
Specimen 65g on 13th July (Click over to enlarge)
The following two little beauties are again in the area of 55 and show quite a lot of lemon-petalled in their make up.  I would imagine they will have picked this up from 55 and 66 which are both close by and very strong in the lemon-petalled feature. 1 of the flowers has 22 flowers whilst the other has 23 flowers

Nice pair of lemon-petalled near to 55 (Click over to enlarge
I brought in more area today, a area I knew but not too well and was surprised to find this next little beauty, which was really well protected with bramble etc. I managed to weave in and out of these prickly protectors to finally get to the plant and photograph.

and here we have the photo of the plant after the worthwhile unravel!!

Here is a little beauty I found today and although all the lemon-petalled (or party) always show a slight red rib to the middle of the yellow petal on this plant the red rib goes right through and gives another dimension to the plant.

"Red Ribbing" on this plant (Click over to enlarge)

We are getting more and more of the "Rust Disease" and here you see a plant which is totally infested to the lower sections, yet at the moment the buds of the plant still look OK, now whether or not they will make it is another matter, but certainly interesting.

Rust disease mainly seems to affect Helleborines, more so than atrorubens for some reason, however after saying that our "star" lempet which was Specimen 66 was this year taken down with rust disease.

This is a plant I found today, although I do see it usually on several plants daily.

Rust Disease (Click over to enlarge)
The last post of the day is this little beauty I found today, coming through all bent and twisted but nevertheless a cracker.

69b Orchid found yesterday is a beauty! (12th July 2017)

Eggar Moth just drying out and emerging on Hutton Roof today - larger than I thought 2" plus

Wednesday 12th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1200hrs to 1630hrs

Butterflies today included Ringlets, Large Skipper, March Browns, Dark Green Fritillaries and several Graylings. I also saw the above "Eggar" moth which seemed to be just emerging. Also today had a bonny little spider land on me.

I believe it is a young spider of the Metellina family
The Carline Thistles are out everywhere and really look well at the moment, its like lumps of gold shining in the sun and staring up at you! lots and lots this year.

Carline Thistle (Click over to enlarge)
I found this beauty yesterday and now called 69b.  It is about 10" high and here is the photograph

69b on 12th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
A close up of 69b on 12th July 2017
A lovely atrorubens growing through a cowpat
(Click over to enlarge)
Here is 17L another lovely specimen which has large leaf structure and is surrounded by other plants which have the same bold.  Probably being under canopy gives it some good magenta colouring in the flowers.

Specimen 17L today 12th July 2017
Here is 69 a beautiful hybrid with large "Helleborine" leaves and is almost hidden by a nearby hazel bush.  Also the beautiful 69a and 69b are within a metre of this specimen.

69 a lovely hybrid - Helleborine leaves

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Lutescens or Palans 69a Dark Red Helleborines etc (11th July 2017)

Tuesday 11th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1300hrs to 1600hrs

Took a couple more photos of 69a the Lutescens

69a - Lutescens/Palans
69a Lutescens/Palans on 11th July 2017
(Click over to enlarge)
Here is a lovely plant which again must be a hybrid Specimen 17

Specimen 17 on 11th July 2017
Below is a photo of Specimen 17q.  I have taken it from the back so that you can then see the lovely long wide leaves.

Specimen 17q today on 11th July 2017

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Another day in Orchid Paradise (10th July 2017)

Monday 10th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1300hrs to 1700hrs

The bird situation is like it always is at this time of year, very quiet with just the odd Willow Warbler making its "hou-whit" (contact) call. The odd Bullfinch with his sad call,  Still good calling from the local Green Woodpeckers which at times was in the next tree to where I was working, but nothing much else.

Butterflies today included: Grayling, Dark Green Fritillary, Ringlets, Meadow Browns.  Ah nearly forgot had lots of Small Torts in the last few days (but not today).

Other flowers: Included new records of spent Lily Of The Valley, Angular Solomons Seal, Hypericum Pulchrum 

I have still been giving the orchids some hammer because the atrorubens are quickly going over now and probably only 50% are still OK for another day or two.  Yesterday I also did a rough old survey of how many orchids there are on the area which I have been working. And guess what to say it's quite a small area (a very small part of the Hutton Roof complex) I had over 650 atrorubens (or should I say atroruben flowers, schmals, hybrids and varieties and approx 100 helleborines.  So you can see at 6 1/2:1 the reason why quite a lot of our plants are mixed up. 

Today I have managed to find some beauties. I want to start off with Escarp 12 which is a great plant and lies directly below the canopy of a Hazel bush which then deepen the magenta colour. 

Escarp 12 on 10th July 2017
Escarp 12 on 10th July 2017

I managed to get a photo today of Escarp 13 one of the new (this year) Lempet plants

Escarp 13 (Lempet) On 10th July 2017

The next find today was absolutely incredible, I was doing some work down at 69 and when I looked out of the corner of my eye, I just could not believe what was sitting there.  This little 8" special and without doubt for now I will go along with "LUTESCENS" variant but to be honest with you there is a lot more to it than that!!  (We now have 5 plants that have the white epichile and boss)

69a a mega rare "LUTESCENS" found today
(Click over to enlarge)
The following is a beautiful 17L today its under canopy and does have good magenta colouring. Like its nearbye orchid pals it is yet another with extra large "Helleborine" type leaves.

17L on 10th July 2017 (Click to enlarge)
And next we have a close up of the same plant.

17L close up
And here we have the fabulous 17d,17e,17f which are stunners especially with their light features including their special white epichile and bosses.

17d,17e,17f - a lovely trio (Click over to enlarge)
and here is a close up of 17d showing off its white epile and bosses

17d,17e,17f trio close up (Click over to enlarge)
The next hybrid is Specimen 69 which has always been a nice looker and reasonably camouflaged by a hazel bush growing alongside it.  All around this area are "helleborines" so you can see were the helleborine features are coming from.

Specimen 69 a hybrid (Click over to enlarge)
And here is a close up of the flowers of 69.

Specimen 69 taken on 10th July 2017
Here is Specimen 70 and 70a today it is yet another schmal and always a beauty how the lovely magenta colours contrast so well with the light green stem.  You see one or two others which are of similar colour and build, notably 11s and 8s which actually are about 100 yards to their East directly in the line of fire for prevailing winds. Just my wishful thinking!!

Schmal Specimen 70 and 70a (Click over to enlarge)
Specimen 70 (Click over to enlarge)
The following plant is a stunner and was classified as No.17 a couple of years ago.  It is of very light features and does not represent the majority of the 17s.  Although one thing for sure with the 17s they all seem to have "helleborine" leaves.

Specimen 17 (hybrid) taken 10th July 2017
(Click over photo to enlarge)
This was a very unusual find today and I have yet to study it to work it out.  I have had a situation before with a "Helleborine" but it must be at least five years ago were deer had snipped off the top section of a plant and a compensation growth came in its place, although the new grown never attained any colour it was forced and obviously lacked colour.  I am wondering if this is what has gone on here.  Will be interesting to see any development, but to be honest I think this is probably as far as this plant will go.

Interesting atrorubens with possible compensated head
(Click over to enlarge)
A nice plant which lies to the NW of 55 and could well be a hybrid, just to show you it is getting well pollinated.

Plant lies 2 metre NW of 55 (Click over to enlarge)
Here is a beauty, I only found it today, can't believe I missed this one, what a stunner it must have been, but no probs I have got you "clocked" ready for next year.

A very light plant found today for the first time
And here is a close up of the plant which must have been a stunner! better late than never!

A very light plant - a stunner on its days.