Sunday, 19 June 2016

Blooming Bees

Summer orchids now reaching their best:
Now`s the time to get out and check on your local orchids. Common spotted, Chalk Fragrant and Bee orchids are all out at their best.
The Lower Sundon Church burial ground colony of Bee Orchids is doing well again, with i should think around a thousand in full flower. TL047268. Areas of the grassland are protected from the mower to allow a good proportion of the orchids to flower and this works well, thanks to the folks at the Church.
Bee Orchids amongst other flowers Lower  Sundon Church Burial ground.

A well attended walk for the Wildlife Trusts South Beds local group yesterday discovered 7 species of orchid in flower on the Totternhoe nature reserves
.Please keep sending in your records via the Adnoto recording form on the BHHS web site.
Let us know what you are finding.
Good hunting.

Friday, 3 June 2016

New Record for Maulden wood...Bird`s-nest Orchid

Sue Raven has found two spikes of Bird`s-nest Orchid in Maulden wood. This appears to be a new record of this plant and a great find. The only other current record is from a wood close to Woburn and recent records from Kings wood Heath and Reach.
 The BNO taken in near dark last night.
It looks like the plant had a flower spike last year also. The plants are quite short...only 15cm/6 inches high but in good condition
This plant can be easily viewed should you wish to visit and is only a foot from the track edge . Sue may well attempt to protect the spikes from deer and accidental trampling today. The record is shown below and the location seen within a 100m square shown in green on a google map by copying the grid reference into "Grab a Grid Reference" that can be found on the Beds. Natural History Societyweb page at
The cursor is not over the plant which is on the  western ride edge.
Sue Raven
2 flower spikes (1 plant?)
on western edge of ride between round house and main ride

Other orchid news. The Fly orchids at hoo bit are up well at the moment but the cool weather has held back the White Helleborines close by...which should be out over the next two weeks.
Man Orchids have done well at Totternhoe and it is worth a visit to the Wildlife Trust Little hills reserve area where they are marked and protected from the sheep as part of the Trusts long term study. (see the Trusts web site for details of the reserves location).
The first Common Spotted- orchids are out and the Twayblades are as trusty as ever. The cool weather might have slowed up the activity of pollinators and it will be interesting to see if seed set is affected in these May flowering species this year.
Happy hunting. Do keep the records coming in on using the Orchid adnoto form on the BNHS website...i feel a second edition of the orchid book coming on!!

Friday, 15 May 2015

The wildlife Trust recently received this may wish to follow this up!!
Best wishes

Dear Wildlife Trust for Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire,

We would like to introduce Orchid Observers, a new citizen science project from the Natural History Museum. Orchid Observers brings together photography, biological recording and the online analysis of museum specimens to better understand the effects that climate change is having on the flowering times of UK orchid populations.
The project invites nature enthusiasts and photographers alike to take pictures of orchids from across the UK and contribute their images to the project website Here, participants can also help to identify orchid photos that have been uploaded by others and help to extract data from more than 10,000 historical orchid specimens, spanning three centuries.

By bringing these data together, we hope to develop a deeper understanding of the effects that climate change is having on this charismatic and much-loved group, some of which are declining – even in protected sites, which in turn may help inform how we can plan and protect key populations and areas.

If you think that this project will be of interest to your membership and volunteers, have any questions or would like further information, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I am also attaching an e-flyer.

Kind regards,

Kath Castillo

Orchid Observers Project Officer, Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity, The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD, UK. Tel. +44 (0)207 942 6307; e-mail

Join the Orchid Observers project: We are inviting nature enthusiasts and photographers across the UK to participate in the Museum’s latest citizen science project, Orchid Observers. The project brings together photography, biological recording and the online analysis of Museum specimens to better understand the effects that climate change is having on orchids in the UK. To find out more visit

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Book now published!!

The "Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire" has now arrived from the printers! Your pre-order copies will be ready to be collected at the launch at the forest Centre next Saturday April 25th between 2 and 4.30 pm.
Copies will be  available to purchase at £20.
We look forward to see you there over a cup of tea.

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

 Happy New year to everyone.

Last chance to order The Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire at the Pre-publication price of £15
last date for orders  31st January 2015...have you ordered yours? Details on the BNHS website and a link on the  blog side panel.

Getting proofs back from the printers now and it is looking good.

We have not stopped the search for orchids! we have records of Green-winged Orchid, Bee Orchid, Burnt Orchid, Man Orchid and Fly Orchid this winter.

Sunday, 14 September 2014

With the Autumn Lady`s-tresses the last Orchid to flower in our two year project, we now enter a phase of record collection and collation.
If you have records of orchids for this year...or even last year...that you have not sent in please do so now. Please dont wait until the end of the year. We will be very pleased to get them.
Search your brains and notebooks for old records of interest and send them in as well. The possible Lizard orchid sightings at moleskin for instance in the 1980`s would be very interesting to receive.

The ALT`s had a very good year..and its still worth a visit to Knocking hoe at Pegsdon to see them.
We counted over 400 plants that flowered this year. Many have been eaten by slugs or rabbits, but a good few have persisted and should be setting seed. The future is fairly rosie for this very restricted species, but it would be more secure if it managed to spread to other sites.

Orchids never seem to rest, and the ALT`s already have the shoots and leaves that will feed the tuber for next years flowers. Bee orchids are also just starting to show little green shoots at soil level having only had a month or two off from growing and flowering.
It`s possible we may recieve some new  bee orchid  from eagle eyed reorders before the end of the year!
Thanks to everyone who have sent in records, and i hope you have enjoyed the field work.
Its up to us now to get all the interesting stuff into the book!

For the future, and for those with a broader interest in Botany there is below an invitation from John Wakely to a meeting to re-launch a Bedfordshire Flora Group. This group will collect records for the forthcoming  new atlas of the flora of the British Isles due 2020. As john says any level of expertise is welcome and this is a good opportunity to improve your botanical skills.( and ...look for more orchids!!)
I hope to see as many of you as are interested on the 6th October, do come along and learn what the Flora Group is planning. Please let john know if you are coming..this will help with catering and any paperwork production!


In order to obtain records for his excellent 2010 'Flora of Bedfordshire', Chris Boon recruited an enthusiastic team of amateurs. Some were allocated a portion of the vice county (usually a 10k square). Members recorded the plants in their 'patch' over several flowering seasons. Chris provided help with advice and resources. Many of us learnt a lot as a result and became half decent field botanists.

The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) is due to publish a new Atlas of the Flora of the British Isles in 2020. This will enable changes in the flora to be identified. In turn we can then attempt to explain these changes. This is likely to be vital in monitoring such factors as climate change, agricultural practice and urbanisation. Without the raw data we will not be able to target conservation effort.
BNHS is keen to establish a new flora group to gather records for the BSBI 2020 Atlas project. We would welcome anyone who wishes to get involved. Experience is not essential. We would welcome any level of expertise. It is appreciated that everyone will be able to devote different amounts of time. Help, support and tuition will be given as appropriate. 
I would like to invite anyone interested to an initial meeting to discuss aims, objectives and methods. This will be held at Priory Park at 19.30 on Mon 6th October. The meeting will last a maximum of 2 hours. I would appreciate if anyone interested would let me know.

John Wakely, co-ordinator"


Friday, 8 August 2014

Autumn Lady`s Tresses!

Richard Revels has recorded the first ALTs from Knocking hoe..nearly a whole month earlier than 2013.
This has been an unusual year for orchid flowering with Helleborines in particular flowering earlier than is thought to be usual.

The list of old records is shown below, as you can see all the records are quite old. However do keep an eye open for this lovely little orchid during August and September on old grassland. I think there could be colonies in old churchyards, old grassland such as Barton and Pegsdon hills and even old grass tennis courts!
This is our last species to look out for in our two year study of the Bedfordshires Wild Orchids. It would be fitting to find another couple of colonies.
Look out for it in short  to medium length grassland. The flowering stems can almost appear over night and it may be that a visit a couple of days or so after a shower may be the most productive...before the rabbits find them.

Who is going to get lucky?

7-Sep-1864 7-Sep-1864 Pavenham SP95X
1882 1882 Luton Near TL02V
1883 1883 Barton Hills TL02Z
1886 1886 Haynes TL04V
1881 1881 Exeter Farm TL04X
1799 1799 Crow Hills TL0353
1798 1798 Thurleigh TL05P
1867 1867 Basmead Manor TL16K