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Sunday 29 May 2022

No mow May: domestic lawn hosts FOUR orchid species and is one big bird table and insect-rich habitat.

A pair of greenfinches feasting on cat's ear leaves, which is a favourite for goldfinches too. 
Click on any picture to enlarge it.

A fragrant orchid in flower for the second year.  Elsewhere, other first year fragrant orchid rosettes will hopefully flower next year.  A few seed heads were collected in earlier years where there were hundreds on the South Downs and the seeds scattered on the lawn.  Note also copious yellow rattle flowers and ox-eye daises.
Common spotted orchid, one of more than a dozen.

Above fragrant and below southern marsh orchids (SMO) protected from rampaging foxes by an improvised fireguard.  This year a second SMO plant and flower has grown and there is a third tiny flower emerged by one of the ponds protected now by holly branches brash.  The forth orchid species is Common Twayblade: two flower spikes hidden in the grass but obvious before the grass grew up after a winter cut.


Sunday 22 May 2022

Wolstonbury Hill yesterday: butterflies, orchids and conservation work

In winter, this area was cleared of dogwood scrub by [F of W] to encourage dozens of pyramidal orchids to thrive.
Emerging orchid rosettes were then subsequently trampled by horses, walkers and vehicles.  The ground was compacted.  Conservation hero Will, above, pointing out damaged orchid rosettes.
Responsible people keep strictly to paths and bridleways, walk in the mud and allow plants and spring flowers like rare native orchids to thrive.

So hard was the soil that the spikes of a temporary string fence could not be driven into the ground even with hammering with a brick.  Click to expand this picture to see orchid rosettes next to the plastic post, which would otherwise have been destroyed by now.

Wall butterfly
F of W erecting a new chestnut fence around the dew pond prior to pond reinstatement after damage to the clay lining and drying out.

Small heath butterfly.
Above, a tiny capsid bug, possibly Calocoris roseomaculatus which feeds on dry grassland flowers.

Scorpion fly female on my car door.

Ramsons gone to seed.
Early purple orchids with Common twayblade orchids

Branches placed in a vain attempt to protect bankside plants.
Early purple orchids: the few to survive.
Total destruction of plants and flowers from walkers and horses on top of the bridleway banks.

A solitary Fly orchid escaped feet and hooves.

Speckled wood butterfly.
Common blue butterfly.
Green hairstreak butterfly near the dew pond.

Fly orchids.

Small blue butterflies.

Brimstone moth.
Common Twayblade orchid.

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