Sunday, 25 June 2017

Atrorubens, Schmalhauseneii and Helliborine updates etc.

Saturday 24th June 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1600hrs

Crossed some really good "orchid" areas on all parts of Hutton Roof today and found my first of the year "Dark Red Helleborines" with at least 15 in flower or part flower - found some Angular Solomons Seal (new to me) at 1 metre, checked on our little population of Rare (for here) Northern Bedstraw, found some new Common Yellow Sedge, also found some new Flea Sedge, found some new Brittle Bladder Ferns, some fungi, lots of Wild Thyme everywhere, also for the book some "white Herb Robert", had first Lemon Petalled variant Atrorubens.

Birds were really quiet and because of the strong winds the only butterfly showing was one Red Admiral.  

Not sure at the moment what this one is I am having a "mental block" but that's nowt fresh these days. 

Not sure what this is? I think it might be Red Bartsia on the start
We do have just one little pocket of "Northern Bedstraw" on Hutton Roof which probably measures something like 6ft x 2ft across. And although it might be common the further North you go it is quite rare around our area, in fact ours is the most southerly population in Cumbria.  A title I think that may at one time have been held at Gait Barrows! perhaps until the 1980s....  Here is a photo I took today of the small population.

Northern Bedstraw today 24th June 2017
Northern Bedstraw (Click over to enlarge)

Checking out all our best orchid sites and we have now got about 15 atrorubens in flower.  For now this is one of our interesting specimens No.33 and is considered a Schmalhausenii No.33. The bottom two flowers have just opened up today and you can see where the epichile and bosses are almost white. This plant was 

Specimen 33 (Schmal) as photographed today 24th June 2017
 (Click over to enlarge)
You may noted it is lemon-petalled but even more interesting
is the almost white epichile and bosses

Specimen 34 (Schmal) as photographed today 24th June 2017
(Click over to enlarge)

This shows part of specimen 34 photographed today which is showing quite a lot of lemon petalled and also considered last year to be a possible Schmalhausenii.  The plant is within one metre of Schmal 33.  The plant also was monitored both in 2015 and 2016.

Schmal 1 photo today on 24th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

The two photos above are Schmalhausenii No.1 as seen today.  Note the bottom two flowers are both turned upwards showing off their epichile and bosses and other bits and pieces.  The plant had its main large basal leaf part predated and chopped a couple of weeks ago but since it has romped on. This plant has been monitored since 2012 and is to my knowledge at least 5 years old.  The plant failed in 2015 and just showed as a small runt indicating early day predation.  Also last year 2016 it came through OK but fell victim of a "deercut" and we were left with only the basal leaf which is low down (18" down in the gryke)

Schmal 15,16,16a - (Click over to enlarge)
This was the situation today, its quite obvious Mr. Hare has demolished our new plant No.16a, but why he has to do what he has to 16 beats me, its a regular trait were he gives it the snip and leaves it dangling without actually eating it!.  In fact below is the photo from 2015 when it was the turn of Schmal 15 to get the snip!

Schmal 15,16 back in 2015 (Click over to enlarge)
fell prey to the Brown Hare and received the "Harecut"
Now then I found a plant that looks like it will be a cracker when it comes out. Its quite close to our Schmals 15 and 16 and I am sure by the build it is a "offspring" from them like many more around there.  Just look at the flower yield on this - theres got to be around 40 on this one!

I am not sure I think we have this one on record already (click over to enlarge)

This one was a new plant for me a lovely looking thing as I was crossing over the fell.  In fact there are several around this tree which do look interesting and I will shortly spend some time there and get more information and photos but for now here is this one.  Straight forward atrorubens!! well I think so.....

A lovely atrorubens with standard coloured flowers
(Click over to enlarge)
The Roe Deer have just started their predation with several of the atrorubens falling victim together with one of our better "Helleborines" which you can see in the photo.  The general picture so far is pretty good with predation on the low side (at least for now!)

Roe Deer predation on Atroruben groups (Click to enlarge)
24th June 2017

One of our better Helleborines falls victim of Roe Deer
(Click over to enlarge)
25th June 2017.

Another atrorubens from today (Click over to enlarge)
This plant is really forward with most of its flowers open, but it is within the minority, because most will be opening over the next ten days or so.

Another Atrorubens which has just started to open up
(Click over to enlarge)

Friday, 23 June 2017

Dark Green Fritts and Large Skipps and other bits! (22nd June 2017)

Dark Green Fritillary taken today in Dalton (Click over to enlarge)
Thursday 22nd June 2017 - Dalton Crags - 1500hrs to 1630hrs

My intentions today were purely to go and check out the new possible Scollie "Crispum" fern in Dalton Crags.  A quick check on the "Marginatum" on the way up through the Crags and eventually arriving at the place were we have the new young Crispum! but on arrival it was one of those days when you get a nice shock, let me explain.  Whilst setting up to take photographs (as windy as it was), I quickly became aware that a brand new baby Crispum had appeared as if from nowhere, and what a little beauty this looks like it might turn out to be.  Just look at the wavy edge it already producing - I just can't wait to see this in maturity.  For now we do have this photo - like I say it was very windy for taking photos. I know for a fact that our fern men Alec and Julian will love this one!

Our new Crispum, and yet another new crispum frond (Click over to enlarge)
Not far away I also wanted to check out our rare "Montanum's" (Pale St. John's Wort) and yes they are coming along nicely, but another pleasant surprise was to see one already in flower.  I did manage to capture the plant but only the flower and top part because the wind was blowing it about like a swinging pendulum!

Hypericum Montanum (Pale St. John's Wort) today - (Click over to enlarge)
I decided to come back over "Hypericum Way" and check out some of our Hirsutums, Pulchrums and Tetraterum.  But straight away as I was coming down the "Way" it was butterflies, butterflies and even more butterflies.  Beginning with Red Admirals, then obvious recent hatches of the beautiful "Ringlets", then Large Skippers and Meadow Browns and then just before reaching the bottom two very flitty Dark Green Fritilleries. Continuing on a little way and back to the Plain Quarry areas I was having lots of Speckled Woods,  Small Heaths, Common Blues, more Ringlets and a beautiful Dark Green Fritillary which allowed me to get a good photograph (see above)

Red Admiral on Hypericum Way today (Click over to enlarge)

Large Skipper on Hypericum Way today (Click over to enlarge)

Another Large Skipper on Hypericum Way today (Click over to enlarge)
I had been recording our beautiful "Maiden Pink" for several years when a couple of years ago they just stopped coming through.  So it was a great pleasure to see them today coming through again this year. There did used to be two more small populations close by but to press these are still missing.

Maiden Pink in Dalton Crags 23rd June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
To finish off whilst on the car park I noticed four large populations of "black mature peacock butterfly larvae" bunched up and devouring "nettles" and "bindweeds".

Peacock butterfly Larva feeding up on areas around Dalton Crags today (Click over to enlarge)
And another photo of Peacock butterfly larva (Click over to enlarge)

Monday, 19 June 2017

Dinghy Skippers, Meadow Browns and lots and lots of Orchids (19th June 2017)

Looking over to Warton Crag and the Bay (click over to enlarge)
Monday 19th June 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1100hrs

A new Chiffchaff to book.  Manage to get a good bite from a "Cleg" fly, he did not come again!  I saw a beautiful "light lemon coloured hawker dragonfly", lovely colouring but too flitty to get a photo - seemed to be enjoying the tops of the bracken. A regular Garden Warbler was singing away having moved his territory some 100 yards further East. Found another Common Spotted Orchid (not that Common on Hutton Roof less than 50). Again another day with Small Heaths everywhere.  Had my first Meadow Brown's today (x2) also had one of the larger bronze fritillaries (1st of the year) but its still a little early for Dark Green but spot on for High Brown so I am left wondering......had a Dinghy Skipper and also marked two places off with Common Blues (males). Lots of Fairy Flux flowers showing. The nationally rare (but locally common) Limestone Bedstraw is opened up everywhere you go. In fact it is so common you will struggle to find any Heath Bedstraw! 

Also I have Robert Ashworth (Kendal) report from: 14th June 2017:
Cuckoo - at least one bird still present, no calling and more elusive. Crossbill - One calling as it flew north over Burton Fell. Recorded a new fly orchid and also a Common Spotted. Increase in Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries. (Thanks Robert)

Checked on Specimen 70 (Schmal 70) which is coming through very well and as usual a very light green.  This year also it has come through with a new specimen at the side of it which for now is labelled 70a and which so far does look very much like a positive offspring of 70 which you can see in the following photograph.

Specimen 70 and the new 70a (Schmal 70) - Click over to enlarge
Here below is a photograph of how Specimen 70 looked last year. It is a striking plant which first of all hits you by the very light green throughout.  Also as you can see from the following photo it shows lovely red/magenta flowers which contrast so well with the green.

Specimen 70 (Schmal 70) LAST YEAR 13th July 2016   (Click over to enlarge)

Specimen 70 (Schmal 70) LAST YEAR 13th July 2016   (Click over to enlarge)
Such a beautiful plant which in my opinion does have similarities to Schmal 8 (2014) and also Schmal 11 and 12 (2014).  see old photos below. The position of Specimen 70 from the other plants (8,11 and 12) is approx 200 yards to their direct West. 

Specimen 8 (Schmal) from 7th July 2014)
Specimen 11 (Schmal) from 7th July 2014)

Also decided to check out Specimen 14 (Schmal No.14) which sadly has been predated by Mr. Hare.  He is up to his old tricks again and although we love him dearly I just wish he would eat what he chomps!  If you look closely on the photo you will see a little minced pile of the flowerhead which he has made.  Also shown below this photo is a photo of how Schmal 14 looked on the 12th July 2016

Spec 14 (Schmal No.14) Click over to enlarge

and here below I have put a photo on of how Schmal No.14 was last year on 12th July 2016. I noticed that around this plant are another two nice atrorubens, but obviously they must not have been so tempting.  If you look at this photo also you can see that this plant may well have qualified for the "Lemon Petalled" status.

Spec 14 (Schmal No.14) in better days - 12th July 2016 (Click over to enlarge)

I was really pleased to see that var: Westmorlandii is alive and well and just starting its growth....

And here is showing 9a which is doing well.  In fact all that family seem to be doing well 9,9b,11,12 etc etc. 
Nice development on 9a taken on 19th June 2017

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Checking No.66,55, Variagated and "Little and Large"

Saturday 17th June 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1130hrs

Today I thought it was probably apt for me to try and map out a productive area which includes such rarities as Specimen 66 and 55 (both Lemon Petalled specimens) and closeby is the "albiflora".

I first of all checked out No.66 which is a superb light green showing plant which you can how it is showing with today's photos here.

Shows the full Spec 66 (Lemon Petalled) plant approx 12" as today (Click over to enlarge)

Spec 66 (Lemon Petalled) showing very green stem and lower leaves (Click over to enlarge)

Spec 66 (Lemon Petalled) showing a very light and full flowerhead (Click over to enlarge)
Spec 66 (Lemon Petalled) photo taken last year 2016 and shows just how colourful the plant is
(Click over to enlarge)

And here below is how Specimen 55 is showing today.  This plant is usually very early and can be the first of the main Lemon Petalled varieties to appear.  Its also a tall plant when fully mature it will probably be about 18" high and will usually have about 21 flowers. Notes have been taken on this specimen since 2015 so this is now it's third year.

Specimen 55 (Lemon Petalled) as on 17th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Specimen 55 (Lemon Petalled) Lower Sections as on 17th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Specimen 55 (Lemon Petalled) flowerhead as on 17th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Specimen 55 (Lemon Petalled) flowers as on 1st July 2016 (Click over to enlarge)
This next plant I found today is still within the productive area and is already looking very unusual with a strange leaf pattern

A interesting specimen found today very patterned leaves (Click over to enlarge)
This was a striking "atrorubens" plant showing a little variagation within it's leaves. And today I did check out the beautiful "variagated" helleborine which is coming along nicely but still a mystery. Here is today's photo of the plant

A cracking specimen but so dark a stem for a "Helleborine"
(Click over to enlarge)
Also today I found yet another variagated "seedling - leaves only" growing about one metre away from this plant.  

Checked out several others which are doing OK.  To finish off today check out this photo of "Little and Large"

Todays photo of "Little and Large" 17th June 2017 (Click over to enlarge

Friday, 16 June 2017

Zig Zag and all that! and Specimen 3a.

"Zig Zag Clover" from a couple of years ago - just starting to come through today (Click over to enlarge)
Friday 16th June 2017 - Hutton Roof  0900hrs to 1100hrs

Decided to check out a area of Hutton Roof on the other side to where I have been working recently. I wanted to check out some old Schmalhausenii or for that matter some of the fabulous "Atrorubens" etc. But initially it proved very disappointing with most of the Schmals having now disappeared and just not come through. I have realised it has been a downward trend in this part of HR for some time now especially in connection to the hybrids. However all was worth it to find a very special new plant and here is why I think so.

Probable relation to long gone Specimen 3 (Click over to enlarge)
So what makes this so interesting to me! well first of all geographically it is only within approx five feet of the original Schmalhauseneii No.3 (which failed with no growth in 2015 and 2016).  This plant is one of the bolder specimens which I call "aerials (television aerials)" meaning their leaves are exceptionally narrow and elongated together with the additional feature that the leaves are not opposites but "alternate" around the stem and not only this but also show abnormally extra large lower bracts!  It's a very local feature which I have only registered with this particular part of the Hutton Roof area, I don't recall of it appearing on any specimens outside of this local area. Yet several of the past schmals from around this area have had these features.

Another photo of a cracking specimen possibly related to our old Spec 3 and
which shows the "aerial" large bracts and 30 plus flowers which go all around the stem. 

3a showing the very narrow elongated spiralling leaves

It was over five years ago that I found this beautiful population of Zig Zag Clover - Trifolium medium (see header photo above). In fact on the whole of Hutton Roof I have now found only three populations of this beautiful clover.  Today I checked out one of the populations and it was obvious from the moment they came into view that this year is going to be something really special with the colony having swelled by five times on last year,  although it will be a couple of weeks before most of them are in flower and what a glorious spectacle that will be.  Here is a couple of photos from today which show some of the area they are covering and a little bonus to see one of the plants just coming into flower.

Zig Zag Clover (Trifolium medium) Click over to enlarge
Shows about 1/4 of the Zig Zag population at this particular area - Click over to enlarge
Close up of Zig Zag leaf - 16th June 2017 - Click over to enlarge