Saturday, 15 June 2013

Good year for butterflies?

This little beauty was found close to Thurleigh yesterday.

Greater Butterfly Orchids can be found in woodland and grassland so keep your eyes out in woodland rides and wood edges especially on the boulder - clay areas of the county.

The flowers have long nectar filled spurs that are visited by moths to effect pollination...the flowers are scented at night so those with a keen sense of smell may be able to locate them by sniff!

These orchids appear to be able to survive without flowering for extended periods so it is worth following up old records. John Dony recorded it as frequent in our boulder - clay woods and rarely in open pasture. It has declined..or at least records of this lovely plant have that Chris Boon descibes it as rare in Bedfordshire...this year may be a good year to rediscover it in some old haunts.  Ancient woodland, old grassland, even road verges around Thurleigh, Sharnbrook, and other areas of boulder-clay and limestone are all worth a look. It should occur in woods on the chalk but there are no recent records.

The even rarer Lesser  Butterfly Orchid should also be out now...if in doubt take a photo of the flower looking in the "face" of the flower..the pollinia ( pollen bearing structures) are two parrallel bars in the Lesser but they are widely separated at the base but converging at their tips in the Greater.

If you find one...or even a whole wood or field full it would be a red letter day.!

Good hunting always