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

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Helleborines are back... sites to check...

Reports of the first Broad-leaved helleborines in flower are coming in. As with other species there is a list of sites  that have old, but no recent records. Some of these woods will not have access and will require permission to visit, please make every effort to gain legitimate access if you intend visiting. Gamekeepers will be preparing woods for game  and will not apreciate tresspass, although access on footpaths  is fine where rights of way exist.

30-May-19796-Jul-1980Home Wood, Potsgrove CWSSP955294SP92P
24-Jun-194927-Aug-1950Blackgrove WoodSP97902362SP92R
3-May-19803-May-1980Palmers Shrubs CWSSP981315SP93V
25-Aug-198125-Aug-1981Washers and Daintry Woods CWSSP995313SP93V
13-May-19806-Aug-1980Park Wood CWSSP933582SP95J
1-Jan-198031-Dec-1980Great Oaks Wood CWSSP965537SP95R
8-Aug-18858-Aug-1885Kidney WoodTL0919TL01Z
1-Jun-188830-Jun-1888Stockwood ParkTL01ZTL01Z
19-Jul-19494-Sep-1950Wilstead WoodTL073426TL04R
30-May-198930-May-1989Exeter Wood CWSTL098443TL04X
1-Jan-198131-Dec-1981Great Wood, RavensdenTL064555TL05S
1-Aug-184431-Aug-1844ShillingtonShillington WoodTL13BTL13B
30-May-198930-May-1989Warden Great Wood CWSTL110432TL14B
30-May-198930-May-1989Exeter Wood CWSTL100442TL14C
17981798Sheerhatch WoodTL14ITL14I
29/08/198829/08/1988Potton WoodTL247498TL24P
29/08/198829/08/1988Potton WoodTL246500TL25K

If one of these is near you please have a look over the coming month or so. Broad-leaved helleborines can be found mostly in woodland, but also occasionally in grassland or on woodland rides.
Please take a photo if you are in any doubt to identity, they can be quite variable in flower colour and even shape. Leaf shape and their arrangement on the stem is also important.

Broad-leaved helleborine. Richard Revels

Note broad leaves usually spirally arranged on stem rather than two rows opposite each other. Lower leaves as broad as is wide.

Broad-leaved Helleborine. Photo Richard Revells. Flowers may vary in colour with some almost wine red others green.

The Violet Helleborine  will be coming out soon. Keep an eye out for this attractive plant in the Studham/Whipsnade area. Even a trip to the Zoo could reveal the purple tinged stems beneath trees on the top of the chalk scarp!
But be prepared to see this plant in even small woods anywhere in the county. It can tolerate deep shade.
Here are two of Richard Revels` photos of Violet Helleborine.

Violet Helleborine..violet tinged stems and leaves. Lower leaves longer than wide.

Violet Helleborine

Here are the old records for Violet helleborine that need visiting again, although any ancient woodland may hold this species.

c. 1900 Woburn Abbey woods SP93R SP93R
1945 1953 Toddington Herne Green SP9930 SP93V
1953 Holcot Wood SP9540 SP94K
9-Jul-1949 5-Sep-1950 Marston Thrift woodland SP97504175 SP94Q
1989 1989 Studham garden lawn - formerly woodland TL01C TL01C
5-Aug-1997 5-Aug-1997 Whipsnade Heath CWS TL01551840 TL01E
1880 1880 Zouche’s Farm Copse near. TL02K TL02K
Luton TL02V TL02V
1-Jan-1990 31-Dec-1995 Kings Wood and Glebe Meadows, Houghton Conquest SSSI TL047397 TL03P
c.1890 Silsoe TL03X TL03X
c.1890 Clophill TL03Z TL03Z
1953 Luton Hoo TL11E TL11E
23-Jul-1983 23-Jul-1983 Horsleys Wood CWS TL132191 TL11J
c.1900 Tingley Field Plantation Tingley Wood Plantation TL1330 TL13F
      SP93R SP93R
          SP9930 SP93V
      SP9540 SP94K
          SP97504175 SP94Q
          TL01C TL01C
        TL01551840 TL01E
          TL02K TL02K
    TL02V TL02V
        TL047397 TL03P
      TL03X TL03X
      TL03Z TL03Z
      TL11E TL11E
        TL132191 TL11J
        TL1330 TL13F
The Green-flowered Helleborine is a rare orchid in Bedfordshire but nevertheless worth looking out for.
We have records submitted  already for the Barton cutting on the A6 in traditional areas.  The new woodland associated with the cutting may hold this species as it has some reputation of appearing in new locations, and any woodland should be looked at in the Barton to Pegsdon area.

The "Barton Caves" area on Old Road Barton being one old location.

Green-flowered Helleborine. Photo Richard Revels. Was also known as Pendulous- flowered Helleborine the flowers dangling on large pods. The flowers are frequently not as open as this and are self -pollinated.

Green-flowered Helleborine. Photo Richard Revels. Ovaries hairless

Green-flowered Helleborine with irregular clumps of cilia along leaf margin compared with an even fringe in other Helleborines.

A hand lens is useful here!

Good luck with your searches and i look forward to your records.


Friday, 13 June 2014

The sweet smell of success...

Richard Revels has found this splendid Marsh fragrant orchid on the downs, seen here among Common Spotted Orchids it is currently 45 cm high and growing! Robustness is one feature of the Marsh Fragrant, usually most at home in fens, but not unknown from chalk downland.

Marsh Fragrant Orchid Dunstable Downs Whipsnade end 

The lip is much wider than the usual fragrants with larger side lobes and a distinct bulge or shoulder on the side lobes.

Marsh Fragrant broad lip, shorter middle lobe, shoulder bulge.

Normal Downland Fragrants have a narrower lip usually with the central lobe longer than the side lobes as shown below.

It is worth looking at any population of fragrants for large specimens and having a look at the lip. Hybrids do occur...and these plants show most of the features of the Marsh type...and do look different overall.

Keep looking!

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Pyramids..selling themselves now!

Pyramid Orchid is just coming out and with this warm weather will soon be at their best. The table below shows where old records need refinding for The Wild Orchids of Bedfordshire book. I`m sure there will be some at the Zoo, also around the huge Kensworth chalk pit. look out for white ones. Pyramids can occur in large numbers in fairly recent grassland as a Sharpenhoe where land has been taken out of arable use.

11-Jun-1993 11-Jun-1993 Wentworth Fields CWS Fields 5 & 6 SP99401795 SP91Y
16-Jul-1998 16-Jul-1998 Whipsnade Among hawthorn scrub SP99651705 SP91Y
16-Jul-1998 16-Jul-1998 Whipsnade On lawn in private garden SP99701690 SP91Y
10-Aug-1998 10-Aug-1998 Whipsnade Wild Animal Park Park Bank of sunken way SP99771779 SP91Y
2-Jul-1998 2-Jul-1998 Turvey Roadside verge SP977509 SP95Q
1-Jan-1996 31-Dec-1996 Ravensdell Wood CWS TL010147 TL01C
1-Jul-1991 31-Jul-1991 Kensworth Chalk Pit SSSI TL0219 TL01J
14-Aug-1991 14-Aug-1991 Dunstable (v.c. 30) Paddock, 69 Tring Road, Dunstable. TL004211 TL02A
23-Jun-1989 23-Jun-1989 Dallow Downs CWS Portion of chalky hillside by Longcroft Road. TL079212 TL02Q
1-Aug-1997 1-Aug-1997 Lark Hill CWS TL067412 TL04Q
10-Jul-1994 10-Jul-1994 Claphampark Wood CWS Claphampark Wood grassland TL046528 TL05L
7-Jul-1999 7-Jul-1999 Claphampark Wood CWS Meadow TL04555285 TL05L
25-Jun-1999 25-Jun-1999 Upper Dean Akeroyd Firs, Upper Dean TL053679 TL06N
12-Jun-1999 12-Jun-1999 Little Staughton Cemetery Little Staughton Cemetery TL109619 TL16A
10-Jul-1999 10-Jul-1999 Bushmead Meadows CWS TL106605 TL16A
12-Jun-1999 12-Jun-1999 Little Staughton Cemetery Little Staughton Cemetery TL108620 TL16B
18-Jul-1998 18-Jul-1998 Bushmead Pasture E of Bushmead Big Wood. TL123606 TL16F
1-Jul-1999 1-Jul-1999 Toplers Hill Junction, Edworth Topler's Hill TL21684028 TL24A

Pyramid. Andy Banthorpe
Greater Butterfly Orchids are now well out..if are lucky enough to see any please report tehm. Slugs have had a field day in the damp conditions and many have been damaged and eaten off this year.
chris`s table shows a lot of records to be rediscovered! Access to some of these locations, mostly woods, is an issue, but it is still worth looking from footpaths. I fancy the Sharnbrook area to still have these lovely plants. Many of the records are quite old and I fear may be extinct now in these locations.
Butterflies can be initially hard to spot...lurking in vegetation and beneath bushes, but are always rewarding to find.

29-Apr-1980 28-Jun-1986 Great Hayes Wood CWS SP964618 SP96Q
7-Jul-1994 7-Jul-1994 Brownage and Louse Acre Woods CWS Louse Acre Wood SP966600 SP96Q
1974 1974 Sharnbrook Summit tetrad SP96R SP96R
1974 1974 Souldrop tetrad SP96V SP96V
10-Jul-1949 7-Sep-1950 West Wood CWS woodland SP989625 SP96W
10-Jun-1995 10-Jun-1995 West Wood CWS SP993625 SP96W
1878 1882 Sundon Wood TL0526 TL02N
1972 1972 Dyers Hall tetrad TL02P TL02P
1878 1882 Streatley Woods TL02U TL02U
1880 1911 Sharpenhoe TL03Q TL03Q
1874 1874 Barton TL03V TL03V
19-Apr-1950 25-Jul-1950 King's Wood, Houghton Conquest TL04654015 TL04K
1882 1882 Oakley TL05B TL05B
1875 1875 Clapham TL05G TL05G
31-May-1992 9-Apr-1995 Browns Wood CWS TL0254 TL05H
1880 1906 Twin Wood TL0354 TL05H
8-Aug-1980 8-Aug-1980 Yarls Wood CWS TL038561 TL05I
1976 1986 Clapham Park tetrad TL05L TL05L
1972 1972 Traylesfield Farm tetrad TL05M TL05M
1970 1975 Tilwick Farm tetrad TL05T TL05T
8-May-1981 8-May-1981 Great and Little Early Groves CWS Great Early Grove TL092532 TL05W
1976 1986 Temple Wood tetrad TL06A TL06A
1971 1971 Melchbourne Park tetrad TL06H TL06H
1-Jan-1980 31-Dec-1980 Keysoepark Wood CWS TL055622 TL06L
1880 1911 Luton Hoo TL11E TL11E
1878 1882 Luton Spittlesea Wood TL1121 TL12A
1-May-1844 31-May-1844 Cainhoe Park Wood TL13D TL13D
1880 1906 Beadlow TL13E TL13E
5-Jun-1937 5-Jun-1937 Chicksands Wood TL14A TL14A
1912 1912 Sheerhatch Wood TL14I TL14I
1913 1913 Southill TL14L TL14L
1867 1867 Basmead Manor TL16K TL16K

Bees are making a Buzz...

Bee orchids are now fully out and there are a lot of older records to well as new locations to find. Bees can colonise neglected land quite quickly and are most easily found in the shorter areas of grass and alongside footpaths.

16-Jul-1998 16-Jul-1998 Whipsnade SP99701690 SP91Y
23-Jun-1999 23-Jun-1999 Dunstable and Whipsnade Downs SSSI SP99971847 SP91Z
19-Jun-1992 19-Jun-1992 Stanbridge Meadows CWS SP940242 SP92M
27-Jun-1988 27-Jun-1988 Eaton Bray Meadow CWS SP979201 SP92Q
23-Jul-1992 23-Jul-1992 Brogborough Lake CWS SP971395 SP93U
27-May-1988 25-Jun-1988 Marston Thrift CWS SP972418 SP94Q
7-Jul-1998 7-Jul-1998 Cranfield SP966422 SP94R
29-Jun-1997 29-Jun-1997 Harrold Lake CWS SP951573 SP95N
29-Jun-1998 29-Jun-1998 Salem Thrift CWS SP991515 SP95V
1-Jan-1995 31-Dec-1995 Brownage and Louse Acre Woods CWS SP962607 SP96Q
1-Jan-1995 31-Dec-1995 Sharnbrook Summit CWS SP970623 SP96R
13-Apr-1996 25-Jul-1996 Ravensdell Wood CWS TL009147 TL01C
1-Jan-1996 31-Dec-1996 Ravensdell Wood CWS TL010147 TL01C
11-Jul-1999 11-Jul-1999 Spoondell CWS TL011208 TL02A
1-Jan-1998 31-Dec-1998 Dunstable (v.c. 20) TL019203 TL02A
11-Jul-1999 11-Jul-1999 Kensworth TL021203 TL02F
26-Aug-2006 26-Aug-2006 Dog Kennel Down CWS TL02082307 TL02G
6-Jul-1998 6-Jul-1998 Sundon Chalk Pits CWS TL037275 TL02I
6-Jul-1998 6-Jul-1998 Sundon Chalk Pits CWS TL036282 TL02J
6-Jul-1998 6-Jul-1998 Sundon Chalk Pits CWS TL042271 TL02N
9-Jun-1989 9-Jun-1989 Tingrith Trout Farm TL007334 TL03B
14-Jun-1988 14-Jun-1988 Millbrook Test Circuit TL0039 TL03E
16-Jun-1995 16-Jun-1995 Houghton Conquest TL03954005 TL04F
9-Nov-1988 9-Nov-1988 Coronation Pit CWS TL0343 TL04G
19-Jun-1998 19-Jun-1998 Kempston Hardwick Pit CWS TL0345 TL04H
25-Jun-1998 25-Jun-1998 Elstow Storage Depot TL043438 TL04L
25-Apr-1996 2-Oct-1996 Elstow Storage Depot TL045442 TL04M
4-Jun-1998 4-Jun-1998 Elstow Pit CWS TL050456 TL04M
29-May-1997 19-Jun-1997 Bedford - Hitchin Disused Railway TL070477 TL04T
29-May-1999 29-May-1999 Bedford TL07954990 TL04U
5-Jun-1996 22-Aug-1996 Cople Landfill Site TL098488 TL04Z
1-Jan-1997 31-Dec-1997 Sharnbrook TL005603 TL06A
15-Jun-1999 15-Jun-1999 Knotting TL010630 TL06B
1-May-1997 31-May-1997 Thurleigh Airfield TL0460 TL06K
1-Jan-1992 31-Dec-1994 Pertenhall Cemetery TL09056600 TL06Y
28-Jun-1997 28-Jun-1997 Tilbrook TL085698 TL06Z
23-May-1992 23-May-1992 Deacon Hill SSSI TL122295 TL12J
2-Aug-1993 2-Aug-1993 Henlow Airfield TL165375 TL13T
20-Sep-1988 20-Sep-1988 Arlesey Gault Clay Pit TL182352 TL13X
30-Jul-1987 30-Jul-1987 Zwetsloots Pits CWS TL158514 TL15K
10-Jun-1995 10-Jun-1995 Waterloo Thorns CWS TL181518 TL15V
11-May-1996 29-Jun-1997 Duloe TL166603 TL16Q

 good luck! as always.