Saturday, 27 May 2017

Southern Marsh Orchids, Ladys Slipper and Ferns etc etc.

A Southern Marsh Orchid seen today (Click over to enlarge)
Friday 26th May 2017 - A "Lancashire" spot just over the county boundary for me and which has loads of beautiful "WHITETHROATS" singing from almost every bush! 0900hrs to 1100hrs

And that's what I went for to try and list the Whitethroats, Lesser Whitethroats and Sedge Warblers, but to be honest with you I listed the first pair of Whitethroats and could hear lots more nearby, but my eye was taken off to check out a boggy water flush area which on close examination showed perhaps some 50 plus Southern Marsh Orchids, with most of them being in early stages and perhaps needing a couple of weeks to be showing their best, but also there were just a few which were pretty well on.

The area also turned up a little "Ragged Robin" and a solitary "Common Twayblade" so most of my time had been taken up recording the main areas of the Marsh Orchids and taking a few photographs of some of the specimens.

This shows a young Southern Marsh Orchid just emerging (Click over to enlarge)

The solitary "Common Twayblade" (Click over to enlarge
"Ragged Robin" (Click over to enlarge)

Another plant which was really doing well here with hundreds well adapted to the boggy damp area were what I consider to be Hypericum tetrapterum (Square Stalked St. John's Wort)

Hypericum tetrapterum (Square Stalked St John's Wort) (Click over to enlarge)
the next photo shows a close up of the stalk

A closure view of the red squared stalk (Click over to enlarge)
Lots of other species like White Campion, Lesser Trefoil, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Comfreys etc etc.  Will be back very very soon to try and carry on with my work recording all the fabulous Warblers....

Friday 26th May 2017 - Dalton Crags (1400hrs to 1530hrs) In the great company of both Julian and Steve who are two guys who love their ferns especially the scollies!

We stopped by to get the last glimpses of the Lily of the Valley and the Angular Solomon's Seal, but most of the LOTV had gone over, but we did find just one nice population which did have some fresh flowerheads.

We spent quite a lot of time searching the grykes for scollies (asplenium scolopendriums or Harts Tongue Fern)  varieties and I was lucky to eventually find the "marginatum variety" (see photo below), which showed well last year, and today it is showing very well indeed, its also got several new relatives just a couple of metres away, so we were all well pleased with that.  Here is a couple of photos to show you the first marginatum from last year:

Last year's variety "Marginatum" (Click over to enlarge)

What a beauty with its serrated edges and its coming through similar this year.  But we did notice also that this year there is a very special pattern right at the bottom of the fronds check out these photos:

Here are some new "marginatum scollies" coming through and they have special patterns at the base
(Click over to enlarge)
Julian from Kent and Steve from Liverpool (both Scolopendrium experts) had been up on Dalton Crags before, but today they were here at the invitation of  fern guru Alec and the main purpose on the agenda this afternoon was to check out my recently found "proposed CRISPUM" variety.  They both checked it out and seemed quite happy for it to be of this variety.  Also it was really nice to see (since my last visit) that a new small frond is opening and stood at only about 3", so I can't wait for this to mature..... Here below is a photo (sorry about the quality but gives you some idea)

This photo shows the proposed Crispum with last years frond together with the new 2017 frond just starting out - can't wait!!

After a good mooch around or using the words of Steve a good "ferret" about it was time to leave Dalton Crags and head West over to Silverdale because they wanted to see the long established Lady's Slipper Orchid.  Alec was the chauffeur and took us straight over to Silverdale but to our astonishment and disappointment on reaching the site of the old plant - surprise it was gone totally! and just what a sickener!  Nem mind I bet you can guess what the next step was, "Alec any chance we can go over to Gait Barrows and check the Lady's Slippers over there "of course" came the reply and off we all toddled!  We soon found the small colonies and here is a photo showing some of the little beauties: