Saturday, 12 July 2014

Rare Lutescens No.2 with its Green Sepals

What a beauty - Close up of the Dark Red Helliborine - Variant "Lutescens" viradis
(Photo kindly by: Martin and Elaine Haggart) - Please click over photo to enlarge
Cumbria may already be famous for its rare Orchid hybrids between the Dark Red Helliborine and the Broad Leaved Helliborine and named the "Epipactis Schmalhauseneii",
But it can now also be recognized for such splendid specimens of the rare variant of the Dark Red Helliborine named the "Lutescens".  On my last blog I showed photos of the rare "Lutescens (red sepal)" this being only the second record of it in the whole of Cumbria. If that was not enough, can you imagine the beautiful surprise of finding another, but this time it is a specimen whats even rarer in so much that it contains mainly Green with that creamy/yellowy flowers and this particular type of "Lutescens" (green sepal) has never been recorded before in Cumbria and possibly further afield as well.

Showing the full length of the rare green sepalled
"Lutescens" (Click over to enlarge)
It was a great pleasure this morning going back to check out the specimen in the fine company of  some serious "orchid" scholars who had travelled from as far afield as London, Birmingham, North Wales, Cheshire, Preston and Beetham, all keen to come along and witness such a fabulous spectacle as this. The heat today up there is stiffling, just like it has been for most days this week and as a consequence its taking its toll on the flowers which most of the helliborines are already on the turn and past their best, so I am really pleased the party saw the rare flower before it also goes over.

Click over to enlarge
Photographs where taken, and we have caged both Lutescens, hoping to protect them for the future.  It was also great to be able to show our ten guest at least seven hybrids, the rare "Epipactis Schmalhauseneii" which are nearby, together with lots of specimens which could also be heading this way in their individual make ups!  We are also noting many "weakling specimens" which I am now very much suspect that they could be the product of the hybrid cross back. Lots going on for the future study of these abnormalities.  

Other news:  The Burton In Kendal Swift group (4 of us) had a really enjoyable evening last night and it was good to be able to record that two further nest sites are being used again this year, although previously we had not recorded any birds using these sites, so that was a nice bonus.  Plenty in the air last night doing their screaming, did manage to count around the 20 mark!  Anyone interested in joining us to check out the Swifts come along next Friday we are meeting up at the Burton Memorial Hall at 2100hrs.

Golden Ringed Dragonfly seen yesterday
(photo: A Brown - Dorset Dragonfly Group)
Golden Ringed Dragonfly Yesterday whilst up on the Common I was priviledged to be the target from a Golden Ringed dragonfly, which I was surprised to see up there, and hawking with terrific speed and acrobatic ability above the high bracken. Its always a suprise up there because there is very little to no water available.  Anyway I am watching the dragonfly closely flying about hoping it might come close to get good views, when it actually came and landed on me.  I daren't flinch, no good wanting to get the camera, although I would have loved a great macro shot!  I got excellent close up views with its large light green eyes peering up at me.  It stayed for a couple of minutes and was then off like a shot.  I have a photo here which Andrew Brown of the Dorset Dragonfly Group has kindly allowed me to use.

Butterflies on the wing today - Still mega numbers of Ringlets, Meadow Browns, lots of Dark Green Fritillaries, Common Blues (mainly males), odd Small Bordered Fritillaries but all seem almost washed out and pale in colour.