There was a very good turn out to the meeting in Haynes yesterday evening. Around 80 people gave up the TV to hear about the proposed Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire book and the two years of survey needed to check old locations and look for new ones.
Chris Boon introduced us to the current knowledge on orchid distribution in Bedfordshire captured in his award winning new flora. Records for the flora were up to 2006 so with the two years of the current survey we will be dealing with an extra eight years of records. Chris showed distribution maps of several orchids, some like the bee orchid apparently expanding its range while others like butterfly orchid and birds nest orchid have reduced alarmingly.
Graham Bellamy introduced the Adnoto orchid recording form developed by Keith Balmer of the Bedfordshire and Luton Biodiversity Recording and Monitoring Centre (BRMC). see http://www.bedscape.org.uk/BRMC/newsite/index.php The orchid recording Adnoto forms can be found on the Beds. Natural History Society (BNHS) at http://www.bnhs.org.uk/ and are easy to use, especially in getting the grid reference for your records. We would like to know details of the fate of orchid flowering plants, particularly the rarer ones and those in decline. Do the flowers all get eaten off?.. do they set seed or not? If they are not setting seed then this would be a major and obvious factor in their decline. These observations can be added to the Adnoto forms.
After a break for refreshments and looking at books, chatting and signing up to offer help with the field work Richard Revels showed some excellent pictures of orchids and orchid habitats in Bedfordshire. Richard is keen to know of any rarities or hybrids that turn up so that he may photograph them for the book.
The next stage is for the offers of help to be collated and acknowledged, field trips to be organised and for ernest preparation for the coming field season.
Many people can usefully survey their local patches, areas they walk frequently and perhaps visit other areas close by that may hold orchid interest. Orchids can occur on your lawns, road verges, churchyards and even recreation grounds. The BRMC web site has a good link to Accessible Wildlife Sites in the county and these may be visited at any time. There are around 200 of these AWSs, many of them nature reserves. Do send in any orchid records you have, old and new, we found that people have knowledge that was assumed we knew about, please err on the side of caution and tell us about your finds.
The BNHs have two field outings to look for orchids, one to West Wood on the 23rd May and the second to Pegsdon Hills on the 1st of June..further details to come.