Common Spotted Orchid
A Facebook message from Jon Illsley sent us scurrying over to Fancy’s Farm to look at a bumper crop of Early Gentians that he had reported flowering all over his fields.
When we got there we were warned that we might have a bit of a job counting them as there were at least 400 in flower, but in the end we had to give up and estimate at least 1,000 flowering plants! This could well be the most important patch of this little flower left in the UK, or even the world, as this species is not found anywhere else other than Southern England.
Remarkably, this was not our best sighting of the morning as one of our regular walkers, Kay Mantripp, pointed out a little pink orchid that looked distinctly paler than the nearby Pyramidal Orchids. A closer inspection revealed this to be a Common Spotted Orchid, a very ordinary sight in most of Dorset but as far as I know the first one ever seen on Portland! I’ve put the sighting up on iSpot for the experts to consider, see http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/272457.
Slow-worms were, as usual, found under their usual shelters but today we also found a shrew and a toad. A few butterflies were out but in the blustery wind were few and far between
The day’s list:
Raven, Kestrel, Swift, Swallow, Linnet, Whitethroat
Common Shrew, Slow-worm, Common Toad, Lackey Moth, Cinnabar Moth, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Blue
Plants (all 56 species within the farm):
Annual Meadow Grass, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Black Medick, Blackthorn, Bramble, Broad-leaved Dock, Broad-leaved Eyebright, Bulbous Buttercup, Burnet Rose, Carline Thistle, Cat’s-tail, Cocksfoot, Common Hogweed, Common Ragwort, Common Spotted Orchid, Creeping Cinquefoil, Creeping Thistle, Crested Dogstail, Cut-leaved Cranesbill, Daisy, Dandelion, Early Gentian, False Oat-grass, Greater Knapweed, Hawthorn, Hedge Bedstraw, Hop Trefoil, Lesser Burdock, Lesser Trefoil, Marjoram, Meadow Vetchling, Mouse-ear Chickweed, Mouse-ear Hawkweed, Pale Flax, Purging Flax, Pyramidal Orchid, Quaking Grass, Red Clover, Ribwort Plantain, Salad Burnet, Scarlet Pimpernel, Self-heal, Sheep’s Fescue, Sorrel, Spear Thistle, Stemless Thistle, Stinging Nettle, Upright Brome, Viper’s Bugloss, White Clover, Wild Clary, Wild Thyme, Wood Sage, Yellow Rattle Yellow-wort, Yorkshire Fog.