Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Ooohhh thaaa’s a big un.

The Safari only saw the Sparrowhawk’s tail on Patch 1 this morning. Not much happening down there although a few Blackbirds hopped about hopefully after the overnight rain. A Wren and a Robin sang as did a Blackcap. The Great Spotted Woodpecker seems to have moved on.
Patch 2 wasn’t much more exciting, a pair of Common Terns dipped, hovered and swooped above the waves but never actually caught anything. As they did their stuff in front of us giving quite a good show an adult Gannet carved its way through the troughs beyond them...and that was about it.
No Patch 2 lunchtime visit today as we safaried further afield to have a look at the huge orchid that has appeared near the golf course...and what a beauty it is...a real whopper.
The welly is placed as near as possible without risking any damage so you can see how tall the plant actually is.
But is it a true Common Spotted Orchid or some kind of wacky hybrid?

Any orchid specialists out there? Suffice to say it’s growing in an area where no orchids have ever been recorded in before and apparently there is another more normally sized one nearby that we couldn’t find. The lowest leaves have large ‘typical’ spots on them; the higher leaves only have smaller faint spots.

Whatever it might be it sure is a stunner.

In the immediate vicinity of the orchid were some Meadowsweet plants, some of which had this orange stuff on them which appeared to make the leaves turn upside down…at first we thought it might be due to a mining caterpillar but on closer inspection we’re pretty sure it’s actually a species of Rust fungus.

Also there was a large Ichneumon Wasp pokin about with its antennae all over the surface of several Dock leaves, not sure what it was after, looked far too big to be interested in tiny leaf mine larvae – but you never know. Almost got a pic.
This Cranefly caught our attention with its Woodpigeon-like white stripe across its wings, don’t recall every noticing one like that before but to be honest we’ve never really looked too hard at Craneflies.

Walking through the vegetation disturbed a large number of micro moths and whilst trying to see where one had landed we noticed this little fella peeking out from under a Coltsfoot leaf, a little gentle wrangling later and he was posing like a super-model.

Plenty of his chums were clambering about in the wet grass underfoot so we carefully retraced our steps.
A few minutes of warm sunshine brought out the damselflies; mostly Blue Tails with much smaller numbers of Common Blue/Azure Damselflies, there were many tenerals. This pair were first spotted flying in tandem before landing on a leaf in range of the lens…pity we chopped her wing tips off; a hazard of holding the camera at arm’s length at a jaunty angle and not being able to see the screen…lucky we got any sort of pics as over half we took were well out of focus, or at least the subject was a variety of leaves weren’t; has to be said though that little beep is worth its weight in gold in situations like this.

Where to next? More no news from the patches probably.
In the meantime let us know what’s stupendously tall in your outback.


cliff said...

I can just picture you standing on one leg whilst taking that 1st photo of the Lesser spotted welly Orchid :-)

Your Cranefly is a bobby dazzler, after checking my books I reckon it's one of the Ctenophora species - possibly C. pectinicornis.


Stephen Dunstan said...

Presumably the same type of hybrid orchid that featured recently on Mersey Birdblog.


Lancashire and Lakeland Outback Adventure Wildlife Safaris said...

Thanks Cliff...

Was thinking along those lines myself Stephen.



Anonymous said...

what you got there me ole fruit is Meadowsweet rust fungus (Triphragmium ulmariae), relatively common but unrecorded...