Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Flies and Fragrants and White Helleborine

Fly orchids are out now. Please keep an eye out for them, there are several old records that need to be refound.

Old 20th century records come from Castle Hill Wood, Totternhoe, where they may still occur. They were also recorded in the wooded area to the west of the Barton cutting above the A6, and also below the wood on the now rather scrubbed over steep hillside.

Other places where they were recorded include in the woods near Clapham, Kempston, Stagsden and Wilstead.

Fly orchid. Richard Revels
Any wood on calcareous soil could hold them, and they sometimes also occur in open and semi wooded areas.  Chris`s table gives  the locations.
1976 1986 Totternhoe Church End tetrad Above Cross Keys SP980219
1886 1886 Kempston Wood SP94Y
22-May-1955 22-May-1955 Hanger Wood SP997495
1935 1953 Runley Wood TL066214
10-Jun-1994 10-Jun-1994 Barton Hills SSSI TL089298
1-Jul-1832 31-Jul-1832 Wrest Park TL03X
1886 1886 Wilstead Wood TL04R
1882 1882 Milton Ernest TL05D
1935 1953 Clapham TL05G
1959 1959 Brown's Wood TL0355
1882 1885 Hyde Hoo Lodge, near TL1118
1-May-1843 31-May-1843 Gravenhurst Possibly Cainhoe TL13D
1909 1909 Pegsdon TL13F
1798 1798 Shefford Chalky pastures near  TL13P
1795 1795 Hollwell Bury Field TL13S
1867 1867 Basmead Manor TL16K
The first record is the Castle woods, and the Cross Keys does a good coffee and excellent food so there`s no excuse not to visit!
The Barton hills record was from open grassland with scattered scrub and could easily still be present.
Fragrant orchids are just coming out also, and have a  more restricted distribution than many other June flowering Orchids in the county. Colonies seem to be fairly static in my experience flowering in the same spot year after year. Here is the table.
1976 1986 Plough Inn, Eaton Bray tetrad SP91Z
29-Jul-1999 29-Jul-1999 Well Head RNR SP999203
1950 1950 Milton Bryan SP93Q
1798 1807 Stevington SP95W
16-Jun-1998 16-Jun-1998 Stockwood Park CWS TL085190
1974 1974 Dunstable Five Knolls tetrad TL02A
1880 1880 Zouche’s Farm near TL02K
1970 1975 Dyers Hall tetrad TL02P
5-Jun-1988 5-Jun-1988 Dallow Downs CWS TL074214
1973 1973 Galley and Warden Hills SSSI TL092265
1-Jul-1949 25-Aug-1950 Galley Hill TL09202725
1864 1864 Judge's Spinney nr Milton Hill TL0154
1798 1798 Clapham TL05G
1-Jul-1843 31-Jul-1843 Gravenhurst Moor TL13C
The Eaton Bray record looks like another opportunity for refreshment!
Stockwood park is a fairly recent record and well worth a look also. They could easily be lurking on Galley and Warden hills and Dallow.

Fragrant orchid
The Well Head Road- side Nature Reserve (RNR) is worth a look and the late date would point to the marsh fragrant  form which richard is very keen to photograph.
 A free copy of the "Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire" for the first finder of a confirmed Marsh fragrant  this year.
The lovely White Helleborine is also well out now.

1976 1986 Sewell tetrad SP92W
1885 1885 Dunstable Long plantation bordering Roman road to west of TL02B
11-Jul-1999 11-Jul-1999 Kensworth TL02F
05/06/1988 05/06/1988 Dallow Downs CWS TL070213
13-Jun-1957 13-Jun-1957 Warden Hills Triangle Wood TL02X
1-Jul-1949 25-Aug-1950 Maulden Firs woodland TL093274
2-Jul-1949 29-Aug-1950 Leete Wood TL088294
1976 1986 Cockayne Hatley Church tetrad TL24P
Most of these locations are still likely to hold White Helleborines. There is a much more recent record for Leete wood at Barton than the table suggests and i am sure they are there.
Maulden firs close to Galley hill looks agood orchid area.
White Helleborine can grow in open grassland with some scrub, but seem happiest when in woodland, especially with beech trees. Even isolated beech trees in grassland can have them beneath the canopy. White Helleborine thrive on their association with the fungi that live with the beech tree roots.
Good luck!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Betwixt and Between......Twayblades!

Twayblades are just coming out and below is Chris`s table of locations that need searching to refind with the Ealy-purples some of the woods are private and will need permission to visit, but some surveying can be done if footpaths exist.
 Don`t forget you can view these records on  a Google air map from the BNHS web site.

6-Jul-1998 Sundon Chalk Pits CWS TL036282
26-May-1998 Dallow Downs CWS TL070214
24-Apr-1988 Flitwick Wood CWS TL023345
5-Jun-1989 Wrest Park Grounds CWS TL09323511
28-May-1993 Kings Wood, Houghton Conquest CWS TL052405
18-Apr-1999 Browns Wood CWS TL025547
26-May-1993 Milton Ernest TL022562
20-Apr-1988 Great and Little Early Groves CWS Great Early Grove TL092532
12-May-1987 Wilden Road Verges CWS TL0856
31-Dec-1997 Penn and Worleys Woods CWS Worley's Wood TL025639
9-May-1989 Melchbourne Woods CWS Lady Wood TL034643
30-Jul-1989 Dairyborn Scarp CWS TL112212
23-May-1992 Deacon Hill SSSI TL122295
19-Apr-1988 Apsleybury Wood CWS TL118325
2-Jul-1987 Poppyhill Pits CWS TL1839
30-Apr-1994 Chicksands Wood CWS TL103403
31-Mar-1989 Palmers Wood CWS TL130446
6-Jul-1987 South of Bushmead Cross RNR TL110595
31-Dec-1988 Great Barford Fringe of woodland on Gt Barford House estate TL139532
9-May-1987 Lady Wood CWS TL127550
31-Dec-1990 Everton (v.c. 30) Waterloo Farm tetrad TL15V
7-May-1994 Bushmead CWS TL115604
20-May-1990 Potton Wood SSSI TL250498
19-May-1991 Cockayne Hatley Wood CWS TL2650

Twayblades are a bit of a favourite of mine persisting in a range of habitats transforming from the "fanged destroyer"look of the early shoots to its more homely two broad leaves and pale green flower spike, some reaching an epic size! Sometimes there are more than two leaves.

They can send up several shoots from the same rhizome forming patches or groups of flowers.
Twayblades are in the same genus as the Bird`s - nest orchid.

Close to the flowers are little manikin shapes in a "onesie"..the zipper up the front having  a secretion that attracts insects, mainly flies, that collect the pollen and go from flower to flower.

Twayblade flowers close-up photo Richard Revels.

Common Spotted Orchids are also just coming out now and
I have reports of Fly and Burnt orchids in flower.

Do send in records of any orchids you come across, even negative records are of interest.

If you see any pollinators on the flowers please do record them..a photo would be great to help in identification.

Don`t give up on the Bird`s -nest orchid which can be found in flower..or be at least recognisable up the begining of July.

Good luck as always