Thursday, 13 June 2013

Angular Solomon's Seal & Birdfoot Sedge & rare Epipactis - Lancelot Clark Storth

Angular Solomons Seal on Lancelot Clark Storth  - 12th June 2013
Yesterday was raining cats and dogs at 0930hrs, and that was about the time I met up with  Barry who had travelled up from the Fylde, because he was keen to check out the rare Birds Foot Sedge (carex ornithopoda).

After all I had put my waterproof trousers in the car (good job!), but it certainly wasn't initially planned with the weather in mind, they had been put in the car ready for the "deer tick invasion" which we where more than likely to experience today.  Over the last few days I have managed to get covered with the little blighters, so I thought not today! the waterproofs are glossy finish material and you wont stick to that!  So as it turned out with the weather, those waterproof leggings along with the coat came really handy for a dual purpose assignment!

Birdsfoot Sedge 12th Jun 2013
After a chit chat and going over things with the maps and plans etc., the first port of call was over to the nearby Clawthorpe Fell,  for Barry to check out the beautiful little "whirlycurlymajigs" yes my nickname for the rare Birds Foot Sedge (carex ornithopoda).  Not to be dissapointed I am sure we must have checked out perhaps a hundred or two of them.

Whilst on the fell it could not go unnoticed that the birds were not singing, I had hoped to be able to spot the Spotted Flycatcher, along with the Blackcaps, Garden Warbler and Willow Warblers, but it seemed so quiet with not a utter of song! the weather just does that sometimes, it dampens the beautiful choruses generally on offer by the various species.

Rigid Buckler Fern
It was also nice to see the patches of Angular Solomon's Seal from within the grykes and showing at its best, whilst Barry found plenty of "Flea Sedge" (Carex pulicaris) to show me.

I even managed a quick "history lesson", showing my guest the 7 versus 6 boreholes and the wager many years hence for the "drilling of the bore holes".

Now still raining it was back along the tree canopied track to the Car for lunch, but not without first going into the Holme Park Quarry Nature Reserve (Clawthorpe), here we walked the perimeter and also checked out the "viewpoint" for the nearby working quarry. We found Heath and Germander Speedwells at various points within the reserve.

There was the odd bird song reaching us here with the Willow Warbler's making their fine "diminishing crescendo" music.  I was busy here looking out in particular for the (Atropa belladonna) which is known to be in these parts, but could'nt find any here today, but perhaps it may be found in other nearby localities.

There's over 20 clumps of Birds Foot Sedge here.
After lunch, and thankfully it had stopped raining so we decided to head towards "Slippery" and then up via Pickles Wood and into the Lancelot Clark Storth areas, were again I could show Barry even more of the rare Birds Foot Sedge, I took a photo showing 20 clumps of the sedge  which can be identified, that is "if you've got your eye in!" just try it and see how many clumps you can find.

There was also plenty of Lily Of The Valley around, but most of what we were actually seeing was immature and without any flower. Also the beautiful Common Cow Wheat is now beginning to show with the flower. Common by name maybe, but certainly not common at all!

Limestone Polypody or Limestone Fern
We carried on up Lancelot and called in at the Spring, but today there was nothing on view, though occasionally I do see "water boatmen" or other types of beetles here.  Just a little further on in a SE direction you come to Pavement 3b (Old Man Chuckles pavement - by the way my designations!) and here at the entry we searched and searched for the Rusty Back Fern (Asplenium ceterach), I have been told that it can be found in these parts, but we scoured the area for quite a while looking, but without any success.

Carrying on we soon reached (Pavement 3 with the small cairns) nothing showing yet with the Dark Red Helliborines here but I did manage to find some fine examples of the rare Black Melick Grass or Mountain Melick (Melica nutans). Also earlier we had seen a excellent length of Wood Melick Grass (Melica uniflora) showing on the verge at Slape (slippery!)

Early stage of Epipactis Helliborine
"purpurea" variant
We were now within striking distance of a real rarity - the Epipactis Helliborine Purpurea, the rare "Harebell Blue coloured variant" of the more commonly called Broad Leaved Helliborine.  Already the early stems and leaves are well formed with some from about 3" high but others in the 6-10" sizes (see photo), this encouraged us to look on other nearby pavements especially in search of early forming Dark Red Helliborines or the rarer Epipactis Schmalhauseneii.  Strange but could not find any of this stuff anywhere yet, obviously we were too early. It did seem rather strange though that the "Helliborines"  were showing well, but no trace of "atrorubens" or "schmalhauseneii" when after all the "dark reds" will actually appear in full flower at least three weeks prior to the Broad Leaved flowering, although the Broad Leaved will be showing well but with "drooping head".   We did manage to find one clump of the rare hybrid "Hypericum perforatum montanum" the hybrid of the rare Pale St. Johns Wort.

To finish off and returning to the lower reaches of Lancelot, we were graced with the beautiful warbling of the Garden Warbler, along with two "contact calling" (hou-whit) Chiffchaffs.

Throughout Barry had kindly graced me with his fine knowledge of some of the surrounding ferns, grasses showing me examples of the Flea Sedge, Male Fern, Scaly Male Fern and others.

Other daily blog information:

Saturday June 15th 2013:  I like many others I am sure was woken up at about 0300hrs with a almighty deluge of heavy rain, which rumbled to the extreme whilst bouncing off the roof tiles. Perhaps it lasted for several minutes, but soon after maybe about 0330hrs the Blackbirds along with all the other neighbourhood birds were in full song until at least 0400hrs.