Friday 28 June 2013

Twayblades, Butterflies and Pyramids.

A quick trip out today to see if I could locate the Turtle Doves reported at Stapleash Farm, this bird has been at the top of my most wanted photograph list for some time, so an opportunity that could not be missed. Unfortunately a "no show"  but I did manage to locate a pair opposite West Dean Woods car park. Just fleeting glimpses and certainly no photo opportunity.

I checked out my banker site for a Greater Butterfly Orchid and was not disappointed, also nice to find several Common Twayblades, the devil's own job to photograph in wet and dark conditions.  Not saying the location but you need to be 200 yds further along the path from this well known rock!




On the way home checked out the Pyramidals which are really coming into full bloom at last, another added bonus was finding several Bee Orchids in the most unlikely of places, unfortunately most past their prime.

My favourite flower is the simple Dog Rose, Rosa canina, today I learnt that it displays  "permanent odd polyploidy"

My favourite flower

Back at home the moth trap yielded a nice specimen of the Peppered Moth, Biston betularia

Friday 21 June 2013

Somewhere in Sussex and Anchor Bottom (Again!!)

I needed to get out, mainly to prove that I can just about last a day out on the downs. I wanted to visit Anchor Bottom to catch and record the Fragrant Orchids, our last visit being a tad early for them. However, first up was an undisclosed site in West Sussex which hosts at least a thousand Pyramidal Orchids. Yet again I was a tad early, as most of the plants are still in bud, but I was delighted to record five Bee Orchids in the fairly dense vegetation. Oddly enough the Pyramidal Orchids here are extremely long-stemmed.


Having had lunch in a sea of wild flowers I made my way to Anchor Bottom, yes, I know, again!! As my seven readers may have gathered, it is rapidly becoming a favourite. No worries, it will be birding time again soon, just as the football season starts. A complete circuit gave me Fragrant Orchids over the whole site but the major population was located on the north facing southern slope, adjacent to a host of Common Spotted Orchids.  I also noted quite a few immature Pyramidal, dotted here and there. The weather wasn't  the best for butterflies but I did have a fleeting glimpse of a Painted Lady.

A wide variety of form and hue.

Common Spotted Orchids have done well.

On the south facing bank I found the patch of Meadow Clary, Salvia pratensis and took some record shots. I also found a couple of nice Common Broomrape, Orobanche minor plants, one tightly in bud, my first recording of a holoparasitic angiosperm!!


Dropwort, Filipendula vulgaris

Felwort/Autumn Gentian? Gentianella amarella

Monday 10 June 2013

Mill Hill and Anchor Bottom (II)

Opportunities to visit the Downs with my able Cameraman's Assistant and Dark Background Holder don't manifest themselves very often. So with Liz driving we set off for Anchor Bottom - target Fragrant Orchid. Only two specimens found - perhaps just a bit early -  by the end of the week more will be showing. With a dark background I couldn't resist some shots of the Common Spotteds which were showing nicely.



On to Mill Hill where the background holder became somewhat redundant. Liz just watched the antics as I manoeuvred to get even more butterfly shots. I was particularly pleased to capture a fresh Cinnabar Moth just as we were leaving.  And the Birds?  Well a couple of Kestrels, supported by Chiffchaffs, Whitethroats and a particularly good flyby of a Raven - too many leaves on the trees to see much else.