Posts Tagged ‘common spotted orchid’

Unusual sites for interesting species?

June 17, 2014

There are some days you just need fresh air and space to breathe, yesterday was one such day.  So, in the spirit of the Nick Baker’s ‘lunch hour’ sessions* I decided to try a visit to Hatfield Moors for a change ….

Heading out of the car park with its ‘raised bed rally restricting bollards’ I followed the well trodden path through the ‘heathland’ area (ex mineral workings reverting to birch scrub) thinking that I might check on the unusual Salix and Pyrola finds made in 2009 (see Volume 8 of the Forum’s Papers).  There was absolutely no chance of relocating either species as the birch had become so dense.

One of the most interesting records from the brief visit was that of Lariniodes sclopetarius in the Ladies!  A sizeable female had taken up residence, clearly a very literate spider to observe the gender code as well as noticing the fact that the convenience next door had been / was disabled ….

140616 Hatfield Moors hrk 227

There was certainly plenty of bumblebee activity and they appearred to outnumber honeybees feeding on the plentiful bramble flowers.  Bombus hypnorum was also present but in low numbers compared to the other species.

Sadly I wasn’t quick enough to get a shot of either the Brown Silver-line or the male Cuckoo as they flew tantilisingly close, nor the Speckled Wood butterflies.  There were still a fair few spikes of Common Spotted Orchid around, but many past their best so not particularly photogenic.

* With apologies to those readers who didn’t watch the recent endeavours by the BBC to engage, educate and encourage the public to get out more …. Springwatch!

Today’s ‘wildlife’ find was that of an early evening stroll and the discovery of a Pebble Prominent larvae munching a poplar leaf along a substantive hedgerow.  Even as an early instar (c. 9-10mm) the brown dorsal stripe was evident and particularly so through a hand lens.  Which proves that closer inspection generally reaps reward.

Campaign corner:

Readers of environmental blogs such as that of Dr Mark Avery will have sensed disquiet about the performance of the ‘guardians of the natural environment’, a recent posts asks “What’s up at Natural England?”  It might be that there has been a good response to the Government consultation on the General Licence and that Ministers are pressurising the recently ‘ish’ appointed Chair of NE?  There were some well considered responses and we await the Government’s evaluation and report on the ‘consultation’.



Some might be common but they’re still ‘gems’

June 28, 2013

The two images taken by Steve Hiner (Natural England) illustrate the beauty particularly when viewed in close up of Common Spotted Orchid, a species showing well out on Thorne Moors at the moment. The species common or vernacular name is derived from the spots on the leaves of the plant. Generally found in grassy places and associated with lime.

Dactylorhiza fuschsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Compare the above spike to those of the previous post to see the difference and salient features which distinguish the two species.  Get to grips with the common species then start to wrestle with the complexities of the many hybrid orchid species.


The image below taken by Peter Kendall, illustrates a very uncommon species: Burnt Tip Orchid.   Uncommon and very localised in Yorkshire, this specimen is a Humberhead Levels one.


Burnt Tip Orchid pk


An excellent paper by M J Y Folley (1992)  The current distribution and abundance of Orchis ustulata L. (Orchidaceae) in the British Isles – an updated summary which featured in Watsonia 19: 121-26 provides a historic indication of its status.  Since the publication of the paper it has undergone a name change and is now recognised as Neotinea ustulata.

Some of the images featured in the blog posts will feature in the publication which reports on the three year Botanical Survey of Thorne Moors, a project initiated by Ian McDonald with the field work completed in 2012 (although species continue to be added in the current 2013 season).  The project will publish the findings as a local site Flora and this will be the first time ever that a baseline species list will be available as an easily accessible publication.  Despite several centuries of interest by naturalists there is not a site flora or comprehensive list available and this project will remedy that void.  It is however recognised that as soon as the publication is in print that it will be immediately out of date as more species will inevitably be added to the local database but there will at least be a species list for the next cohort of field botanists to start to build upon and update in due course.  Species lost consequential of agricultural drainage and peat exploitation can be ‘discovered’ and lamented over in ‘obituaries’ in obscure and difficult to obtain journals.

Keep sharing those images and data with us.  Contact us via

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Mark Avery

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I write about politics, nature + the environment. Some posts are serious, some not. These are my views, I don't do any promotional stuff and these views are not being expressed for anyone who employs me.

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