Sunday, 4 May 2008

Early Spider Orchid

Towards the end of a frankly uninspiring BTO breeding bird survey, my enthusiasm was rekindled by the discovery of a single, solitary Early Spider Orchid. Standing about 6" tall, it's not a particularly attractive plant but its scarcity and unpredictable growth means that it's a treat when you find one.
Less rare than the Late Spider Orchid that appears (infrequently) in June, the Early is known to appear in a number of sites around the village, and I had put off mowing my own lawn just in case!

Important sites for orchids in the UK are shown on the map, with Dover to Kingsdown Cliffs in orange, presumably indicating that we get them, but not in large numbers or the very rare ones.On the bird survey, 27 species were seen in the quadrant area, with another 9 on the walk to it.
Notables included the first drumming Great Spotted Woodpecker of the year, eight singing Common Whitethroats, two Peregrine Falcons (one of which was very light on the back, presumably the youngster), 18 Fulmar nest-sites and the welcome return of House Martins.

Is this an early Wild Parsnip?

One of the many Hawkbit/Hawkweeds


Mary said...

Congrats on the orchid find! Beautiful pictures of it and I like the house martin swooping in the cliffs.

abbey meadows said...

It's funny how the north/south divide works. Great spotted woodpeckers start drumming up here in january but it will be nearly another month before our orchids are out. Great shots of the orchid; I'm jealous already, I don't think I can compete with that sort of quality. The umbelifer looks like Alexanders.

Steve said...

Great news about the Early spider Steve and nice pics too. Queensdown Warren is my local site for them so I will try in the next week...

grigkot said...

Thanks for pics. You are lucky.

Kingsdowner said...

Thanks for the comments.
Abbey, we normally have GSWs drumming from the beginning of the year, but this year the local one has been conspicuously absent.

Re photo quality, if you've got a macro setting, I'm sure you could do better than me - just get up close and shoot!