Spring - Orchids are back!

Green-winged Orchids - Woodside Lane
If one looks along the southern verge of Woodside Lane in Lymington the purple flowering spikes of Green-winged Orchids have appeared.
Green-winged Orchid - Woodside Lane

They are also in flower at Durlston Country Park along with Early Purple Orchids and a rather special species - Early Spider Orchid. The orchids and the masses of Cowslips in the fields west of the car park make it well worth the journey over there on a fine spring day. 

(See https://www.durlston.co.uk/durlston-today.aspx)

Early Spider Orchid - Durlston

All photographs © Richard Coomber

Walk 19 April 2018 Puttles Bridge

Greater Stitchwort

16 members joined Angela on the hottest day of the year so far and the warmest since 27 August last year. A few days without rain and the Forest had dried out remarkably. We walked through Clumber Inclosure accompanied by a fearless Roebuck, evidently used to people. Overhead a male Goshawk enjoyed the thermals and a Buzzard flew from tree to tree. Woodland flowers included Tutsan, (a native Hypericum whose leaves are said to prevent bookworm if placed between the pages of books), Dog Violet, Primrose, Lesser Celandine, Greater Stitchwort, Wood Spurge, Wood Sorrel and Wood Anemone. Approaching Holm Hill the Birch catkins were dispensing quantities of pollen, to the distress of hay fever sufferers. Willow Warblers were calling among the Goat Willows by the stream and Bog Myrtle grew in the damp area beside the stream. A shoal of Minnows inhabited the stream shallows and Royal Fern Osmunda regalis was an exciting find in a ditch. The Victorians collected this plant almost to extinction in the Forest. Other bog plants seen included Lesser Spearwort, Bog Pondweed Potamogeton polygonifolia, starwort sp, Marsh-marigold, Creeping Willow and Water Crowfoot.
Green Tiger Beetles - mating pair
Out on the heath Common Lizards were taking advantage of the sunshine to warm up and heathland birds, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit and Skylark were noted. Skylarks were probably nesting as the male flew up and sang. A pair of mating Green

Tiger Beetles Cicindela campestris provided coffee break entertainment and, among other insects, we saw Peacock and Brimstone butterflies.

Photographs © Chris Robinson

Outing 12 April 2018 London Wetland Centre

Peacock Tower
Ring-necked Parakeet

Adrian and Kay arranged the well-supported Lym Nats coach trip to the London Wetland Centre, Barnes. It was a grey and rather gloomy day, so it seemed rather strange not to see some of the taller London landmarks.

It was a great day out spent wandering the well-laid out paths bird watching, looking at the more unfamiliar wildfowl species in the collection pens and socialising. Around the visitor centre were Ring-necked Parakeets, whilst over the tracks and lagoons flitted Sand Martins newly arrived from Africa. Other summer visitors noted were Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Swallow and Willow Warbler. Some of those birding from the Peacock Tower saw a lethargic Jack Snipe, perhaps the bird of the day.

Red Deadnettle
The interesting collection from all over the world showed how varied wildfowl species can be from smart Emperor Geese to the rather more colourful drake Hooded Merganser. Also admired was a pair of White-naped Cranes.

Around some of the ponds clumps of Marsh-marigold brightened the otherwise dull scene. Elsewhere other plants in flower included Common Horsetail and Red and White Deadnettles, the former also being found in a white variety.

Grey Heron - adult