Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Lempet 55 no longer with us plus other Orchids



Tuesday 25th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1200hrs

Mapped all the Broad Leaved Helleborines along the escarpment areas 23 in total of which 9 are inactive through predation and 14 are active within flower and bud or bud only.

It is like playing Russian roulette some days going up on this particular part of Hutton Roof not knowing just what to expect and at times it just a question of waiting your turn!  let me try and explain. Today it must have been my turn or should I say the turn of our splendid specimen No.55, I went to check on the second most precious of "lempets" which is No.55 - dark green stem and stands at 20" in height and has 40 flowers (remember our most prestige No.66 (green stem fell victim of "rust" which attached the rootstock some 3 weeks earlier).  Well this time with 55 which is also a close by specimen of 66 has either been attacked at the root stock or alternatively it has been trampled on.  It is more than probable it has been attacked at the base by slugs although to be honest with you when I see predation by slugs it is normally a straight cut across not unlike the deer, and usually a slug will cut further up the stem and very rarely at the ground level, and more important there is usually a trace of "slug slime" which generally gives the show away by evidence.  On this occasion slug slime was not present and neither was the cut straight across and neither was the cut partway up the stem, so I hold reservation on "slug" predation.  So I thought perhaps it's been trampled over which may well prove to be the case although, if the plant was trampled you would normally see damage both at the base and also further up the stem as well and not just at the very base of the plant.  So for now I am left wondering!  but what a setback for the programme!  Fortunately lots and lots of pollination will have already taken place with the many bees and hover flies which will have serviced the plant.  However sadly the seed situation will now be lost.  I did check the ovaries which are quite bulging and did split the ovary to check the seed bank, but unfortunately it looks far too early and as yet the multitude of seed are still creamy and congealed and have not reached the position of drying out prior to natural distribution. I did last check the plant maybe four days ago and all was well, so obviously this setback has only occurred in recent days. 

Here is a photo of this years (July 8th 2017) Lempet No.55 which shows the plant at its very best. 

Specimen Lempet 55 on 8th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

This is again of 55 showing a more close up of the Lemon-Petalled flowers

And this was the specimen today (see photo below), flattened over to the floor and broke off and possibly the victim of a slug predation at the base or a flattening by someone or something treading on the specimen. Whichever the specimen was loose to the ground and I did retrieve the damaged specimen (may I add under permit/licence) which it is now to be used for ongoing studies and likely for "dna" profiling studies.

Here is a photo showing the full damaged plant, and followed by close ups of the base of the same plant.

This was No.55 collected today (Click to enlarge)
If you click over to enlarge you will see the packed bulging ovaries

The cut is not representative of neither deer and hare and is more likely to be either slug predation or trampling

Showing a split ovary from No.55 and the seed bank which at the moment is still very moist

So now we can move on and check out Specimen Lempet No.74 (photo below) which still looks stunning and is safe from any predation and seems to be liking its new home (security cage around it) and would still warrant a good photo, but did not want to disturb so took this photo whilst the specimen kept caged. 

Specimen No. 74 (Lemon Petalled) today 25th July 2017
Below shows the new "Pallans" (100 yards NW of boulder) which I found a couple of weeks ago and I decided the check out the ovaries on this today and very pleased they are bulging out nicely as I am sure you will agree.

Showing bulged ovaries of the new "Pallans" 


Below is "Escarp Juniper" which is still showing well today and quite late now for a atrorubens, but this one always likes to be "late".

Escarp Juniper hiding within his Juniper canopy (Click over to enlarge)
Escarp Juniper still showing well today (Click over to enlarge)

This is always a little beauty which is set within its own limestone shallow gryke and does have little beautiful offspring at only a foot or two away.  Of particular interest is how the edges of its leaves and either burnt or have taken on rust!

Interesting small helleborine showing burn or rust to the edges of its leaves

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Variagated Helleborine and Other great Orchids etc



Saturday 22nd July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1500hrs to 1700hrs



This boulder in front of you just is something special!! read on (Click over to enlarge)
To say I have been going past this boulder within yards for 3 or 4 years at least and almost on a daily basis during the "Orchid" season.  I have never noticed before.  It has Ash, Hawthorn and Gorse growing from it and they are quite well established eg: 4 to 5 ft high.  Also it has a good covering of mosses and ferns growing at its base. So what a very accommodating boulder which is without doubt bringing everything to life! I will salute to it on passing in the future.....Gosh looking at this photo I guess it looks spooky!  well just for the record it is...

The only birds I had calling to day were several young "Green Woodpeckers" they seemed to be everywhere and so noisy! some from that side of the fell and some from this side of the fell, other than that is was superquiet!

Butterflies included: Wow did not expect Small Heath they have been out now for ages, some Meadow Browns and the beautiful Dark Green Fritillary.

Had lots of horrible nasty flies forever attacking! I tried having a  "swipe swipe" but reactions seem to be just a little slow these days. I need to brush up on my reflex skills..

It was nice to see the ovaries bulging! on most of the spent atroruben orchids which confirms that good propagation should take place this year.  Another week or two and that should start to "set the seed" as they say.

What I really wanted to do today was to check out our rare Variagated Helleborine orchid which has recently started to flower.


Full length plant photo on Sat 22nd July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Mid section of Vari 1 on 22nd July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)


Close up of Variagated 1 on 22nd July 2017

This is a fabulous but strange plant and although at present I have to keep a open mind it may well turn out to be a "mix" at the end of the day, let me explain.  I am curious why it should have "atrorubens" denticulation patterns on the edges of its leaves (although that was last years results it has not yet been checked out this year). 

Also I can't be 100% at this stage but maybe the plant is losing its variagation, here is last years photo which does show more variagation especially around the ovaries etc:


2016 photo of the same plant (Click over to enlarge)
Also worthy of note is a immature plant set about 2 metres away which shows variagation in the leaves, but the plant did not grow any height.  Also set about 50 yards away another variagation large two leaved effort within the nearby copse never did much this year in fact if anything the plant again never progressed and may have lost some of its variagation.  It will be interesting to see how it develops over the coming ten days. 



A beautiful Helleborine today 22nd July 2017

Above is a lovely helliborine starting to come through today.

But its also been a nightmare on HR today, we must have lost at least 20 helliborines in the past 48 hours - a few with Brown Hare but at one particular spot today the deer had took 10 of our beauties some of them over 3ft high (see next photo). A disaster for us now from 100 on this particular pavement is already down to about 40 surviving plants (as I write).


Showing 3 of our best helleborines fallen prey to deer
(Click over to enlarge)

Next is a little beauty called "Escarp Juniper" and its a lovely atrorubens which again is late coming through every year.  It lies within Juniper and has lovely contrasting flowers.


Escarp Juniper "atrorubens" (Click over to enlarge)
Escarp Juniper "atrorubens" close up
(Click over to enlarge)

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