Monday, 16 July 2012

Hipericum perforatum montanum.

If you want to check out the above photos in regards to "Pale St Johns Wort hybrid" (Hipericum perforatum montanum) in larger resolution, which is obviously better if you want to see clearly the "transulucent Dots" please click here, then when loaded double click on your selection and when loaded click again to apply maximum zoom.

On Saturday morning last, at the copse just before reaching Pickles Wood, I could hear the "feeble" calls of two small birds flying overhead whilst traversing from one set of trees to the others. The trees separated by a distance of maybe 50 yards or so, the contact flight call from these birds was certainly not familiar to me by any means, although I had thoughts that I could have possibly heard that call or similar in the not to distant past. It turned out to be a pair of young "Spotted Flycatchers".

So I found a spot and waited just before entering Pickles Wood. and before long my patience was rewarded with first a parent bird showing her "flycatching" displays from the mid branches, flying out and doing mid air sallies to catch the flies. And then only minutes later and some 30 yard in distance further along the copse, two young "flycatchers" decided to come out of hiding and also started doing their "flycatching". In fact one got so brave that it flew down from the large mature tree, and alighted on the top branches of a medium sized "hawthorn" tree which lie to my right side and then flew along the tree top to a very "closeby position", where I got the clearest view of a young Spotted Flycatcher, that I have ever had, or ever hoped to achieve. Yet after flitting about for only seconds, it was off again back to the larger mature trees in the background.
Really special to see these birds, because earlier in the year I was told that the species had bred last year (2011) within Pickles Wood area, and within a distance of some 200 yards from where I had seen them today, so I dont think it would have been too much of a positive presumption to take it that these very "special birds" had once again honoured us with their presence this year.

It does not seem to long ago when "Spotted Flycatchers" where reasonably common, certainly that was the case down in East Lancs during the 70s, 80s and 90s. But for some reason the species has took a real "dive" in population numbers during the years approaching, and since the millenium.

Eventually I did manage to get on the pavements and started to record both Dark Red and Broad Leaved Helliborines. Its a painstaiking job mapping out all these very special plants to include their gps co-ordinates etc, but it will be well worth it when my work is completed. At least then we should have a base line to work from in regards to the status of these rare orchids. I have already completed perhaps some five different pavements, but there are lots more to go at yet and to be honest with you I cant see the work getting completed this year. I am sure even now that it will be necessary to go into 2013 at the earliest.

Today it was back to the Pavement, I was at only yesterday and where we have five Dark Red Helliborine "Hybrids" Epipactis. x schmalhausenii. I needed to spend even more time here to complete the basic survey for this pavement. I have certainly learnt quite a lot over the past few days in relation to this "very special" "hybrid" and I will endeavour in the next few days to try and summarize the "hybrid" situation within my blog with facts and figures and some really good photos of the plants.

But for today, it was great to find a small group of "Pale St. Johns Wort hybrids" or to be more explicit, they are another rare hybrid known as: Hipericum perforatum montanum", a plant of the limestone habitat. I had previously been asked by the Cumbria recorder to watch out for this species in particular and that he would be interested in any records should I find any. Well here it was. I have included within this blog photos, showing the heads of the flowers together with the smooth non-hairy stalks, the broad and tapered reddish leaves etc. One particular photo is of the "underside of the leaf" and you will see that besides the outer border of the leave showing the black dots which is OK, the underside of the leaf also shows "translucent dots, together with one or two other larger black dots". because of these specimens showing the "transulucent spots" it confirms it to be the rare hybrid instead of the pure Pale St. Johns. It is suggested that somewhere along the line the Pale has crossed with "Perforated St. Johns".

A fair old day with lots of butterflies about especially the Dark Green Fritillary (see photo), Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, Common Blues, Green Veined Whites (beautiful, just hatched), lots and lots of Ringlets, good numbers of Speckled Woods as well.

Sunday was spent checking out another pavement, far over on the Common, and here I am finding lots of both helliborines, and even greater possibilities that I have again found more of the "hybrids" which I am looking into further. I will give a full account of the situation over the coming days.