Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Bramshill Orchids

Bramshill walks

Walks around the Bramshill plantation.

Bramshill Orchids 2010
Bramshill and Riseley
Bramshill 2012
Bramshill 2013
Bramshill and Hazeley Heath 2014
Bramshill 2015

After a very hot and dry spell, by chance I was back in the Bramshill area where I had made a previous walk, in the hope of seeing orchids and was disappointed not to see any. This was a short walk, criss-crossing through the Bramshill plantation, which is mainly conifer with heather and the soil is clays and sands. Everywhere looking parched through lack of rain.

The first orchids I noticed were growing in very marshy ground fringing a pool, I suspect this is Southern Marsh Orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa). Several dozen could be seen at this locality.

southern marsh orchid

Not far away was the more familiar Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramdalis)

pyramidal orchid

About the most noticeable flower throughout the plantation at this time was this lovely little pink one. Common Centaury (Centarium Erythraea)

Centaury

Further along in a ditch were a magnificent group of Common Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) three feet tall.

heath spotted ochids

In ditches was an attractive plant giving mass of tiny white flowers. I think it is a bedstraw possibly Fen Bedstraw (Galium uliginosum).

heath spotted ochids

Butterflies were very busy in the warmth of the afternoon and little breeze. I think this is a Large Skipper (Ochlodes venata). I also saw a White Admiral and lots of Meadow Browns.

large skipper

This Marble White butterfly (Melanargia galathea) was feeding on thistle.

marble white butterfly

And iridescent damsel flies too.

damselfly

My progress on more than one occasion was being monitored by the now much feared carnivore, known to attack humans at the slightest provocation.

fox

Orchids were located here and there particularly close to pools. The orchids vary in colour quite a bit, this one I thought was particularly appealing. A Common Spotted one (Dactylorhiza fuchsii).

common spotted orchid

I was delighted to follow a pair of Silver-washed Fritillary butterflies (Argynnis paphia) back to the car. They flew as pure patches of bright orange. For once one of them co-operatively stopped to feed on a blackberry flower.

silver washed fritillary

The flower I most wanted to see, which I had seen here three years ago in the evening gloom, was the Bee orchid (Ophyrs apifera). Just as I was setting back disconsolate, I found three spikes of the strange beauties on a grassy bank.

bee orchid

bee orchid

So a good haul of five different species of orchid. So I'll end on this clump that look more like delphiniums than Common Spotted Orchids.

heath spotted ochids