Saturday, 10 June 2017

Checking out Scollies etc (9th June 2017)

"A Pteriologist Dream"  (Click over to enlarge)
Friday 9th June 2017 - Checking out Scollies and a lot more - 12noon to 1630hrs

Before that though I would just like to mention that Francis from Vicarage Lane has had a Common Redstart in her garden.  Also I think I have a resolution on the identification of the Caterpillar referred to in a early post - it does now appear that it will be the "December Moth" caterpillar.

Although I am now led to believe that Small Heath Butterflies have not been doing that well in certain parts of North Lancashire, I can say that we are doing really well up on Hutton Roof and thankfully it is one of the places where the butterflies still do well. I have on the odd occasion been walking through hatches with more that 20 butterflies in the vicinity.  They are very widespread up here.

Early reports of our Swifts indicate that there is probably not as many about this year and this seems so far to be the position throughout the country reading reports.  Ours at Burton seem slow and we are seeing less birds this year compared to the past years so far.  Also still early to tell for sure, but some of our old established nest sites have not been taken up as yet!  We are holding our Swift Watch nights every Thursday so hopefully before long we should have a clearer picture on the situation.

So back to yesterday whilst walking up Slape Lane (slippery!) my eye caught this strange plant on my left which turned out to be a Red Campion, but I have never noticed a leaf pattern showing a variagated.

"Red Campion" with variagated leaf pattern (Click over to enlarge)

Also walking along Slape Lane I could not help but notice the large amounts of Hedge Woundwort which are pleasantly on show along with lots of other great stuff as well.  I always think HW is a splendid beautiful plant which although I guess common is so beautiful when you see it close up.

Hedge Woundwort - so beautiful close up (Click over to enlarge)

My main target today was to check out lots and lots of Harts Tongue Ferns (Scollies) and sure enough my destination would show up not hundreds but probably thousands.  It was a very mature woodland and although looking from the outside you may not have thought so, but once inside you saw those beautiful large trees probably some two hundreds years old or maybe older.  You had to be careful where you walked because in the main the limestone floor was covered with beautiful mosses.  But here and there were large pockets of Harts Tongue Ferns and also Male Ferns (stunningly large shuttlecocks!) and also in the main a carpeted "Sweet Woodruff".

It was a great privilige to be let loose with all these scollies, checking out their patterns, and some of them were so wrinkly on the edges, although I could not find any definite (at this point) Crispums! although many gave indication that they were something special.  Take for instance this one below:

A very unusual Scolopendrium with these dainty scolloped edges (click over to enlarge)
When I first noticed this plant, I thought initially it had been damaged, but thinking about it now its not damaged but producing itself like this.  You know it really is maddening, I always (well not quite) take a gps reading of anything peculiar or interesting or rare etc, but checking through I did not take it for this particular plant.  I have other readings from a few yards away so I guess I could find it again without difficulty.  Its got to go in the diary for a "re look" because now on reflection I do think it is very special!

And this is common I guess among scollies but here we have one with a forked top, and you can see in the photo it shows the veins branching out:

"Forked Top"  (Click over to enlarge)
This place is what you would call a Pteriologist Dream with so many "beauties" all around you.  Good job today I am wearing light coloured trousers there are so many "ticks" about and I am constantly having to brush them off.  In the main they are tick "nymphs" but even so they will get you if they get chance and still give you some nasty bites. I guess that's nothing just part of the fabulous experience and I suppose I have got used to it by now its more a less a daily experience.  I walked through one place the other day and I'll bet there must have been at least 20 full mature female ticks which caught me and by the left "they can run like billeehoe" when they want too. Quickly got to get shut of these before they get chance to bite into.  Just regular checking and quick brush offs seem to keep them at bay - just miss one now and again!  Like my mate says - its a cracking place up here but should be called "Tick Central".

So I would now just like to show some of the beauties that make all this worthwhile.  I hope you enjoy the photos:

And to be honest with you I would have liked no more than show you lots more, its just been a absolute delight to have so much beauty on my doorstep! will be back again very very soon - hope the diary can fit it in before we get really involved with the orchids which is quickly following!!

To finish off the day I found my first of the year Common Spotted Orchid, with a closeby Common Blue Butterfly and lots of Common Cow-wheat everywhere!  Here are more photos:

Common Spotted Orchid just arriving

Common Blue Butterfly (Click over to enlarge)
Common Blue Butterfly - Underside (Click over to enlarge)
Common Cow-wheat although really! not that Common (Click over to enlarge
and check the photo below which shows the beautiful patterns of the leaves