It was a lovely warm, sunny Spring day so I shot up to the reserve with my orchid maps. We had made a good start with the mapping but I just thought I could add a few more to the picture and on a day like this I can’t think of a place I’d rather be!
Back in my garden at home I had seen Comma, Peacock and male Brimstone so I knew that the insects were out in good numbers. Up on Hartslock I saw male Brimstone and some large queen bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) and the usual Kites & Buzzards. The Hairy Violets were just starting to come into flower too.
On arrival I bumped into a couple of friendly chaps metal-detectoring in the neighbour’s field. We had a very interesting chat and they said they had been finding all manner of things over the years dating from the Roman era, through the medieval and even into the Tudor period. Just goes to show what history the landscape has in our area and what we pass by under our feet every day.
The orchid counting went pretty well and I managed to take the tally from 163 to 275 in the space of about 3 hours (an additional 112 orchids). The Lady x Monkey hybrids and Lady orchids are very well advanced and there seem to be a lot of new Lady orchid seedlings, which we must map in when we have a few people to man the measuring tapes. But the Monkey orchids do seem to be a bit small in some places on the slope so it can take a lot of scratching around in the grass before you find some of them. My general impression is that this will be another good year because we are finding most of the plants that we look for but we will have to see how the slope develops when the weather warms up.
We haven’t had a chance yet to map-out the plants in slope 1 but I did have a look over in slope 4, without much success. The few plants I found were very large but I couldn’t find many in the long grass and amongst the Beech leaves so I think we will have to take the tape measures over there to find the rest. Satelite colonies in general tend to fluctuate in numbers wildly from year to year and it wouldn’t be unexpected to loose quite a few plants there as the colony settles down.
I had a really superb afternoon up on the site and had given myself a few more hours work on the computer, updating our figures and the maps!