Sunday, 28 June 2015

In Search of Orchids

Just to give you a break from the La Brenne posts and to give me time to sort a few more photographs here is a quick blog from a successful day in Hampshire at Noar Hill and Chappetts Coppice both Hampshire Wildlife Trust reserves.

Jackie and I haven't been to Noar Hill or Chappets Copse for a few years and yesterday we were joined by Liz, Joe and Renee in a search for Musk Orchid and Fly Orchid and of course anything else that might be on offer.
Orchids - Noar Hill © Nick Hull
The above photograph doesn't do justice to the view you get at this wonderful site it just abounds with colour.  With Common Spotted, Fragrant and Pyramidal Orchids, Knapweed Broomrape and much much more.  But our main quarry here was to find Musk Orchid this delicate small pale greenish yellow orchid.  After a bit of a search I found a single specimen and a very nice one at that, but surely there were more there certainly was when we last visited.  We searched on taking in what other wildlife that was around, which were mainly butterflies seeing Marbled White, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell, Common Blue and Painted Lady.  After a while Joe found a very nice Bee Orchid and shortly after I found a small stand of Musk Orchids and it appeared perhaps we were just a little early for this season as many were still developing. As we left we heard Lesser Whitethroat singing but none of us could find it in the hedgerow bushes.
Musk Orchid - Noar Hill © Nick Hull
After and hour or two enjoying this very nice reserve we moved on to Chappets Coppice not too far away.  The last time we were  here we were to late in the season and all the orchids had gone over or nearly finished.  So we were hoping that we had timed it better this year. Walking through the wood we quickly found that all the helleborines had gone over but Jackie soon found the main target for us here Fly Orchid one of my favourite orchids.
Fly Orchid © Nick Hull
After soaking in the delight of this superb orchid we continued our walk to see what other delights were available.  Joe found a fritillary which flew up and landed in the low branch of a beach tree with a little manoeuvring I managed to get to a position to be able to see it.  To my surprise it was a Silver-washed Fritillary and a very fresh individual and our first of the year.
Silver-washed Fritillary © Nick Hull
Not the best photograph but I think it was still drying out after pumping up it's wings. It was also the only one we came across.

We had a late lunch at Old Winchester Hill where we were treated to a fly over Red Kite a nice way to finish our trip to Gilbert White's area of Hampshire.

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