Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Crispum, Montanums and finish of Orchids (12th Aug 2017)

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Friday 11th August 2017 - Dalton Crags 0900hrs to 1030hrs

Decided to check out the Crags and I wanted to check a lovely "scollie" which I thought may have turned out to be a "Crispum" but no it was not to be, as you can see with these photos which clearly show the "sori" on the rear of the frond. 


A lovely Scollie which looked like it may have been a "Crispum" in the making
Check next photo which clearly shows Sori on the rear of the frond.
"Sori" showing on the rear of the frond (Click over to enlarge)
Superb heads on our (new to me) rare Montanum's (Hypericum Montanum - Pale St. John's Wort) which are going over.  This year has been good with a total for Hutton Roof of 18 plants over three separate sites. Here is a photo showing the flowerhead.


The rare Hypericum Montanum nestling away in the Lower Dalton Crags (Click over to enlarge)

Also not to be outdone we had a lovely showing of the commoner Hypericum Perforatum and I could not resist taking this photo which to me looked absolutely beautiful showing both the fresh and gone over.


Hypericum Perforatum (Click over to enlarge)
Flower and gone over flowerhead on 12th August 2017

Thursday 10th August 2017 - Hutton Roof 1500hrs to 1630hrs

Trying to check out more about the "black spot" on the same helleborine, checking notes and the only thing I can come up with is possibly "Botrytis" which does not only come through in spots but far more variable - If it is this it is caused through water retention.  I did also note a "mullusc" hanging on to the rear of the plant.  The following photos are not good but do at least show the "black spot" disease or whatever it is!







A well spaced out beautiful E. Helleborine found on Hutton Roof today (see photo below)



A lovely Helleborine well spaced near to Schmal 69 (Click over to enlarge)


Wednesday 9th August 2017 - Hutton Roof 1300hrs to 1700hrs

A nice E. Helleborine under canopy - it seems to have spots in its make-up.


A spotty E. Helleborine on 9th August 2017
E. Helleborine "Dark Form" or "Purpurea" as at 9th August 2017
E.Helleborine Purpurea 3 today 9th August 2017
E. Helleborine Duo today 9th August 2017 check next photo for close up


Same plant as above (Click over to enlarge)

Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Graylings, Warblers and lots of Orchids (6th Aug 2017

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Looking back to last Friday, on my way up to the orchid fields (fell), I had a large roving party of birds all flitting across my path and included many small Warblers (Willow Warblers/Chiffchaffs) which again made up "a confusion of Warblers" but not only warblers but also lots and lots of various tits and also a considerable amount of Chaffinch. I wonder if these were the same party I witnessed a week ago!

Also over the week I have had lots of screaming Jays, I think they may have been young birds, but just sounded like something being "throttled".  Also on the Fell itself several young Green Woodpeckers, I can see why they hang about on the fell with all those juicy ants everywhere!

Butterflies included Meadow Browns, Red Admirals, Green Veined Whites and lots and lots of the beautiful Graylings.  I must have seen hundreds of Grayling over the years, but up until today I had never ever seen the upperside of one, and today I had two brushed past me in a glide at such a close distance I was actually able to see the upperside and what a beauty they are. 


Grayling Butterfly (upperside)

And now for a run down of the week's orchids which is quickly coming to a close and maybe a few more photos before we need to call it a day for yet another year, but what a fabulous year it as been!

Saturday 5th August 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1400hrs

Several photos today, I did manage to get one or two more of the Purpurea No.1


Purpurea No.1 on 5th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
I did a good scout around the area and noticed that there were two more helleborines near to this one that had been "deercut" previously.

Also managed to get this photo of the same plant


This is yet another of the most beautiful "Purpurea 1"



Welcome to "Lempet-ell"
I have not yet worked it out! but this is now the third E. Helleborine that I have found so far this year on Hutton Roof which is showing the pale "Lemon-Petals".  I had thought that this was purely a "atrorubens" thing but there again maybe not!

A lovely large helleborine found today quite close to the variagated specimen


A lovely "Helleborine" found today quite close to variagated (Click over to enlarge)
Another nice helleborine found today west of the bottom copse


A lovely helleborine found today 5th August 2017 check out close up below
A close up of the same helleborine (Click over to enlarge
Another nice helleborine which lies on the NW side of the lower copse.


A nice helleborine (Click over to enlarge) and check next photo below for close up

Showing Black Mite infestation on this poor helleborine with the smaller Meadow Ants as farmers
in most cases you see the much larger black ants taking on this roll
Photo: 5th August 2017



Friday 4th August 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1100hrs

Some absolute stunners today, My choices are becoming limited and the idea today is to bring in the purpurea which are now looking quite good and will probably be over within a few days, if we are lucky we might just about get the weekend before they start going.

The first specimen up is the beautiful Helleborine which resides close to the lempets 40 and 40a.  This one is hiding under the hazel canopy. This specimen is on the turn right now so this will be my last photo for 2017 of this specimen.


Here is a beauty "purpurea" which resides behind Spec 40 (Click to enlarge)
Calling in again on what I have nicknamed "Lempethell" (shown below) and its the specimen helleborine which shows signs of yellow petals, I have now noticed this with a further specimen as well so thats a couple which have these fabulous characteristics.


"Lempet-hell" (Click over to enlarge) Photo taken 31st July 2017.
The new plant (shown below) taking this on believe or not is the same plant which was actually the "Chlorantha" only last year (2016).  I had noticed it had taken back some colour but when you look close you can see where the petals have gone "yellow" so again I suppose it does have a weak look of the "lempet situation" but here within helleborine.


"Lempet-hell" on 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
To think this plant is the same one we classified as "Chlorantha" only last year.
Now moving over the fell to check out a beautiful duo which has a lot of flowers still in bud, but just the ones already opening it is looking good:


A lovely pair of helleborines today (near to 17s) Click over to enlarge

Here is a close up from the pair shown above:


A lovely specimen just starting to open up.
Moving on to Purpurea No.3 which has come through like this in most years, this year is no exception and for me is one of the most stunning of the "Purpurea's"


Purpurea 3 on 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Here are a couple more photos showing close up's of Pupurea 3 which is just slightly under canopy.


Close up of Purpurea 3 on 4th Aug 2017


A further photo of Purpurea 3 on 4th August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

I have managed to get a couple of Purpurea No.1 which lies within 20ft deep within canopy and you can see the amount of purple it takes on.  A beautiful plant.


Purpurea No.1 on 4th Aug 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Another showing close up of "Purpurea No.1 on 4th Aug 2017

And to finish off today a couple of shots of a beautiful helleborine:


Helleborine between 70 and 69 (Click over to enlarge)
See next photo for close up of flowers
Same flower as above photo


Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

Its time for Purpurea varieties in our Broad Leaved Helleborines etc

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Wednesday 2nd August 2017 - Swift Numbers over the past few days

Difficult to tell whether or not any Swifts have gone back yet but these have been the aerial counts at Burton In Kendal over the past few nights: 

Checking out the Swifts down Main Street - Wed 2nd August 2017 - 2030hrs

11 birds in total recorded. One entry into front of Royal Cottage when going past on return one leaving Royal Cottage and quickly followed by another entering. A established site already recorded.

Checking out the Swifts down Main Street - Tues 1st August 2017 2030hrs

28 birds (minimum) hawking the skies between Memorial Hall and Manor House

Checking out the Swifts down Main Street - Mon 31st July 2017 2015hrs

24 birds hawking the skies mainly over Neddy Hill, Royal and Manor areas

Checking out the Swifts down Main Street - Sun 30th July 2017 2040hrs

34 birds mainly over Memorial Hall, Neddy Hill, Cocking Yard and Royal.  Also even more birds down above the Manor House

Checking out the Swifts down Main Street - Sat 29th July 2017 2000hrs 

7 birds to count


Tuesday 1st August 2017 - Hutton Roof 1300hrs to 1630hrs

The wind has again been strong with very few butterflies about but still good numbers of Grayling, Meadow Browns and Small Heaths together with a Brimstone back down in Lancelot.


Brimstone on Betony in Lancelot Clark Storth (Click over to enlarge)

I found Great Burnett almost at the top of Vicarage Lane just below the new building on the left. Also lots of Broad Leaved Willowherb showing


Broad Leaved Willowherb
Another plant which is doing extremely well if not too well is the Traveller's Joy or Old Man's Beard (a clematis) - see photo below which is spreading quite dense on some of our local limestone pavements.


Travellers Rest or Old Man's Beard.
Now back to the Orchids

Found a few nice bits today and here are some of the "Dark" or Purpurea specimens of Helleborines and also a nice new "hybrid".


One of the "Dark" or Purpurea specimens on a different area today (Click over to enlarge)
Above is yet another plant back on the regular fell I have been working on. There is no doubt whatsoever in my eyes that this deserves the name "purpurea" its far better than "dark phase" for me today,  but whatever your choice! 


A good "Purpurea" specimen today on 1st August 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Absolutely incredible to yet find another "atrorubens led hybrid" lurking within some juniper and hazel canopy! reasonably fresh as well.  I keep saying we have seen the last of the atrorubens and then another one just seems to appear from its hiding place.  I was most impressed with this one and you can see again it has the atrorubens flowers yet with a light green stem suggesting E.helleborine and again E.helleborine leaves. Another cracker as they say!!


New Schmalhauseneii found today - Click over to enlarge and check next photo
A beautiful Atrorubens-led "Hybrid" (Click over to enlarge)
I don't think I can ever remember having a atrorubens or atrorubens-led hybrid come through later than July before and this was a lovely find. You would never have found it unless you were prepared to move some of the canopy and vegetation. 


Monday 31st July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1330hrs to 1630hrs

Very windy and struggling to get photos, but we did manage a few.  To start I want to show you this little beauty I found today.  Does it remind you of anything?  Well I had to do a double take on this knowing full well it was a "helleborine" yet for a while I thought it was taking on the "lempet" feature!!


A Helleborine thats jealous of the nearby "Lempets" (Click over to enlarge)


A very light phased and well spaced out helleborine (Click over to enlarge)
See next photo 
A beautiful light phase helleborine which is well spaced between the flowers
found on Hutton Roof today (Click over to enlarge)
Variagated Specimen Helleborine as at 31st July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Probably the last photo of the year for this beautiful plant.  It is now starting to go over. 


And here is yet another very light phase plant I found today and is probably about 10" high. Very close to Escarp 11 and 12 (hybrids) and also other normal helleborines close by.


A small 10" helleborine now showing very light phase (Click over to enlarge)
And here again a closer view (Click over to enlarge)
Equally as charming are the "dark phase" or purpurea specimens and here is one on its way which I took today. Within a week or ten days we should have several specimens coming through.


A Purpurea or "Dark" specimen on HRoof today (Click over to enlarge)

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A Confusion of Willow Warblers and lots of ferns and orchids

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Saturday 29th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1600hrs

"A Confusion of Willow Warblers"

WILLOW WARBLERS – COLLECTIVES
Flying in the dark through a moonlit sky,
Falling from high like little angels,
Floating down on a wavering leaf,
The “confusion” has now begun.
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Daytime closed you was not seen,
Whilst morning wakes your plenty,
So tred so soft our leaf explorer,
A “bouquet” of special prize to us,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Your music is a descending tale,
Which finish the year hou whit,
A choir of pairs sings thy will,
A “Fall” would be a lot of thee,
Our dear little Willow Warbler

Sylvia’s hand of lucid intricacy
You thread that weave so delicately,
To house and raise a splendid cast,
It’s a start to a “Wrench” fulfilled
Our dear little Willow Warbler

10th April 2015 


This morning I must have been in the right place at the right time and was to witness a nice post breeding mixed party of birds which included "A Confusion of Warblers" there must have been almost 70 birds in total, but I got close up to them and the best was to see at least 30 or so Willow Warbler/Chiffchaffs, some were a beautiful yellow colour yet the majority were the regular greyish/browny colours. It was great to stand still and watch the birds crossing over and sort of flycatching whilst using all available canopies, but to see so many of the little beauties all at one go was quite special.  Also in the same party was about 20 or so Long Tailed Tits, and a general assortment of Chaffinch and Great Tits.

Today always looked like it might rain, but to be honest I think the winds kept it away, because at times it was really blustery.  Because of this I say little in the way of butterflies.  After saying that though the lovely "Graylings" were plentiful and they must have had a cracking year. Also Meadow Browns were seen.  Also one of the very large Dragonflies was seen hawking above the matured "bracken". 

Whilst checking out some helliborines on the other side of Hutton Roof, I noticed a beautiful scollie! to give it it's correct title Asplenium scolopendrium variety Undulatum and here is a photo of the find:

"Undulatum"
Also while on about ferns it was a great pleasure to also check out our rare and beautiful Southern Polypodys which are just showing emergence.

Southern Polypody - Cambricum (Click over to enlarge

Now back to the orchids I went right across Hutton Roof this morning and collected three cages which have done little this year and so I have brought back to use on the Fell I am currently working on and two of them are already protecting two nice orchids.

How strange it was only yesterday I was writing something about predation and did mention that thankfully this year we have not experienced "black aphids" which is usually a annual event.  Well well! I spoke too soon because today we have got them alright and not just on this fell but also the other fell where I was earlier and so two lovely helleborines are being taken over by aphids and black "farmer" ants.

Large Helleborine which was part responsible for hybrid Schmalhauseneii No.2
I hate to see this particular helleborine infested, it struggles most years with one thing or another, and to cap it all it is was the suspected parent to Schmal No.2 which was the only helleborine close.  The second year it got burnt out with the sun, the third year it was snipped by the deer, the fourth year it was OK and the fifth year (now!) it is being taken over with the aphids and the ants. 

And also almost one mile distant I had another smaller helleborine being attacked and you should have seen the ants "posture" wow they meant business up on their hind legs and if looks could kill!.

Black Aphid on a newly emerging Helleborine (Click over to enlarge)
The aphids always have black ants farming them.
Below:  This helleborine specimen was and is still considered a "Chlorantha" in 2016 it matches 95% of the criteria including its light green inner hyperchile, but this year (2017) the plant has almost reverted back to a normal Helleborine.  I will show you last years photo and then show you today's. First last years.

Considered to be a "Chlorantha" or light phase in 2016 as this photo shows but then
check out the next photo of the same plant taken today 29th July 2017
Same plant in 2017 - showing far more colour than last year 
The plant was caged last year for its safety and is deep within canopy and within a metre there are two more helleborines which actually go the other way and into dark phase or purpurea.  But interestingly this plant has now lost its "Chlorantha" variety status. 

A beauty close to Spec 40 and in partial canopy
This one above is a beauty which I have been keeping a eye on, it's taking on a slightly darker form simply because it is in partial canopy (hazel bushes and such)

Another helleborine today close to Hell 15 (Click over to enlarge)
Next photo shows its territory

The small area where you can see the above Helleborine plus a couple more (Click over photo to enlarge)

The above plant is a great specimen and this little area does have quite a few that take on a "dark form" yet also close to them within a metre or so there are also usual standard forms. 


Thursday 27th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 0830hrs to 1130hrs

A good example of light and shade (Click over to enlarge)
These two helleborines were checked out this morning and they give you the perfect example of "light phase" and "dark phase" build.  The light one at the front is right on the edge of canopy with partial sunlight, yet the much darker helleborine in the background is only about one metre away from the lighter specimen but lies within the actual canopy and would not get much sunlight (if any). The light and dark differences show throughout the plant.  The contrast are very noticeable in the field initially with the stems being totally a different colour eg the light phase is green, yet the dark phase within the canopy is almost purple and also immediately noticeable are the differences in the shades of colour in relation to both the leaves and bracts which are far darker in the "dark phase" specimen. And usually when the flowers emerge you will also see a big difference between the two.  I will show you two individual photos of these same plants which give you a better close up.

A closer photo of the "light phase" plant on the edge of canopy (Click over to enlarge)
This one above is the lighter phase plant and appears to be a straight forward normal Broad Leaved Helleborine whereby the one which is to the back and under canopy (shown below) is far darker throughout its make up starting with the actual stem which is almost purple (instead of the familiar green), then you do also see a difference in the shade of green with the leaves and bracts which are far darker and have this satin sheen look.  The flowers of the "dark phase" will no doubt turn "purpurea" in about two weeks time. 

This one is one metre back and within canopy and shows lots of "darkness" forming (Click
over to enlarge)
Today has seen 17d,17e and 17f predated by the Roe Deer and have gone from this to that:

This photo was taken on the 10th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
The following photo was taken today 27th July 2017.  I can confirm it is Roe Deer predation from the cut and would estimate maybe 3 days ago. You know what this means that I do need to get another cage ready for next year.

17d, 17e, and 17f taken on 27th July 2017
This next specimen I found today whilst counting the helleborines on the Western Front of Hutton Roof.  Its a very small bonny looking thing of about 10" high, but it does seem to have got some sort of problem looking at all the dark spotting up the stem etc.

Lovely little Helleborine got some sort of problem with dark spotting on the stem
(Click over to enlarge)
Same plant as above

It was lashing it down all morning (thanks for waterproofs), but really slippy should not have bothered today really too "dangerous" a very close shave on one occasion but I wanted to get the totals for the Broad Leaves on the particular fell I have been working on this year and the total came to 136 with 88 active and 48 predated (has at 27th July 2017).  So I am well impressed with that because I thought we only ever had about one hundred on this fell, but it seems I had previously under estimated. So it looks like if things stayed as they were we are losing about 1/3rd to predation which I don't think is too bad when you consider we do have at least one deer (or more) and a couple of Brown Hares. 

Still the odd hybrid or two popping up. I had this yesterday whilst searching out the Western Front for helleborines.  These plants are obviously hybrids and just starting to go over.

A nice surprise of 3 hybrids with atroruben flowers on 27th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

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Lempet 55 no longer with us plus other Orchids

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Tuesday 25th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1200hrs

Mapped all the Broad Leaved Helleborines along the escarpment areas 23 in total of which 9 are inactive through predation and 14 are active within flower and bud or bud only.

It is like playing Russian roulette some days going up on this particular part of Hutton Roof not knowing just what to expect and at times it just a question of waiting your turn!  let me try and explain. Today it must have been my turn or should I say the turn of our splendid specimen No.55, I went to check on the second most precious of "lempets" which is No.55 - dark green stem and stands at 20" in height and has 40 flowers (remember our most prestige No.66 (green stem fell victim of "rust" which attached the rootstock some 3 weeks earlier).  Well this time with 55 which is also a close by specimen of 66 has either been attacked at the root stock or alternatively it has been trampled on.  It is more than probable it has been attacked at the base by slugs although to be honest with you when I see predation by slugs it is normally a straight cut across not unlike the deer, and usually a slug will cut further up the stem and very rarely at the ground level, and more important there is usually a trace of "slug slime" which generally gives the show away by evidence.  On this occasion slug slime was not present and neither was the cut straight across and neither was the cut partway up the stem, so I hold reservation on "slug" predation.  So I thought perhaps it's been trampled over which may well prove to be the case although, if the plant was trampled you would normally see damage both at the base and also further up the stem as well and not just at the very base of the plant.  So for now I am left wondering!  but what a setback for the programme!  Fortunately lots and lots of pollination will have already taken place with the many bees and hover flies which will have serviced the plant.  However sadly the seed situation will now be lost.  I did check the ovaries which are quite bulging and did split the ovary to check the seed bank, but unfortunately it looks far too early and as yet the multitude of seed are still creamy and congealed and have not reached the position of drying out prior to natural distribution. I did last check the plant maybe four days ago and all was well, so obviously this setback has only occurred in recent days. 

Here is a photo of this years (July 8th 2017) Lempet No.55 which shows the plant at its very best. 

Specimen Lempet 55 on 8th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

This is again of 55 showing a more close up of the Lemon-Petalled flowers

And this was the specimen today (see photo below), flattened over to the floor and broke off and possibly the victim of a slug predation at the base or a flattening by someone or something treading on the specimen. Whichever the specimen was loose to the ground and I did retrieve the damaged specimen (may I add under permit/licence) which it is now to be used for ongoing studies and likely for "dna" profiling studies.

Here is a photo showing the full damaged plant, and followed by close ups of the base of the same plant.

This was No.55 collected today (Click to enlarge)
If you click over to enlarge you will see the packed bulging ovaries

The cut is not representative of neither deer and hare and is more likely to be either slug predation or trampling

Showing a split ovary from No.55 and the seed bank which at the moment is still very moist

So now we can move on and check out Specimen Lempet No.74 (photo below) which still looks stunning and is safe from any predation and seems to be liking its new home (security cage around it) and would still warrant a good photo, but did not want to disturb so took this photo whilst the specimen kept caged. 

Specimen No. 74 (Lemon Petalled) today 25th July 2017
Below shows the new "Pallans" (100 yards NW of boulder) which I found a couple of weeks ago and I decided the check out the ovaries on this today and very pleased they are bulging out nicely as I am sure you will agree.

Showing bulged ovaries of the new "Pallans" 


Below is "Escarp Juniper" which is still showing well today and quite late now for a atrorubens, but this one always likes to be "late".

Escarp Juniper hiding within his Juniper canopy (Click over to enlarge)
Escarp Juniper still showing well today (Click over to enlarge)

This is always a little beauty which is set within its own limestone shallow gryke and does have little beautiful offspring at only a foot or two away.  Of particular interest is how the edges of its leaves and either burnt or have taken on rust!

Interesting small helleborine showing burn or rust to the edges of its leaves

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Variagated Helleborine and Other great Orchids etc

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Saturday 22nd July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1500hrs to 1700hrs



This boulder in front of you just is something special!! read on (Click over to enlarge)
To say I have been going past this boulder within yards for 3 or 4 years at least and almost on a daily basis during the "Orchid" season.  I have never noticed before.  It has Ash, Hawthorn and Gorse growing from it and they are quite well established eg: 4 to 5 ft high.  Also it has a good covering of mosses and ferns growing at its base. So what a very accommodating boulder which is without doubt bringing everything to life! I will salute to it on passing in the future.....Gosh looking at this photo I guess it looks spooky!  well just for the record it is...

The only birds I had calling to day were several young "Green Woodpeckers" they seemed to be everywhere and so noisy! some from that side of the fell and some from this side of the fell, other than that is was superquiet!

Butterflies included: Wow did not expect Small Heath they have been out now for ages, some Meadow Browns and the beautiful Dark Green Fritillary.

Had lots of horrible nasty flies forever attacking! I tried having a  "swipe swipe" but reactions seem to be just a little slow these days. I need to brush up on my reflex skills..

It was nice to see the ovaries bulging! on most of the spent atroruben orchids which confirms that good propagation should take place this year.  Another week or two and that should start to "set the seed" as they say.

What I really wanted to do today was to check out our rare Variagated Helleborine orchid which has recently started to flower.


Full length plant photo on Sat 22nd July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)

Mid section of Vari 1 on 22nd July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)


Close up of Variagated 1 on 22nd July 2017

This is a fabulous but strange plant and although at present I have to keep a open mind it may well turn out to be a "mix" at the end of the day, let me explain.  I am curious why it should have "atrorubens" denticulation patterns on the edges of its leaves (although that was last years results it has not yet been checked out this year). 

Also I can't be 100% at this stage but maybe the plant is losing its variagation, here is last years photo which does show more variagation especially around the ovaries etc:


2016 photo of the same plant (Click over to enlarge)
Also worthy of note is a immature plant set about 2 metres away which shows variagation in the leaves, but the plant did not grow any height.  Also set about 50 yards away another variagation large two leaved effort within the nearby copse never did much this year in fact if anything the plant again never progressed and may have lost some of its variagation.  It will be interesting to see how it develops over the coming ten days. 



A beautiful Helleborine today 22nd July 2017

Above is a lovely helliborine starting to come through today.

But its also been a nightmare on HR today, we must have lost at least 20 helliborines in the past 48 hours - a few with Brown Hare but at one particular spot today the deer had took 10 of our beauties some of them over 3ft high (see next photo). A disaster for us now from 100 on this particular pavement is already down to about 40 surviving plants (as I write).


Showing 3 of our best helleborines fallen prey to deer
(Click over to enlarge)

Next is a little beauty called "Escarp Juniper" and its a lovely atrorubens which again is late coming through every year.  It lies within Juniper and has lovely contrasting flowers.


Escarp Juniper "atrorubens" (Click over to enlarge)
Escarp Juniper "atrorubens" close up
(Click over to enlarge)

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Birdies, Butterflies and Orchids (17th July 2017)

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Monday 17th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1200hrs

The weather was again beautiful and I trotted out of the sunny light filled fields and into the darkest but yet wonderful of woodland with lots of little shadows of unidentified birds flitting from one tree to another but did not give away their identity by their calls, because this morning the calls were absent and they remained silent. I had only been under the canopy for some 20 or 30 yards in when I could see lots of feathers on the floor and instantly I recognised a couple of Jay feathers, you probably know the one I mean that beautiful light blue and black (shown below) and lots more primary and secondary feathers as well.  I was then stood there trying to work out what on earth was the predator, I gave thought to Peregrine, Buzzard but the most likely would have been the large female Sparrowhawk who could deal with something of this size together with the canopy restrictions and probably the Sparrowhawk (female) would have been the best bet, but we will never know for sure.  

Jay feathers found on 17th (ignore 15th on label) - Click over to enlarge
Coming out of that dark area and you were met with sudden sunlight glaring at you just light being in the "spotlight", yet at the same time I was hearing those beautiful little birds in the tree just above me. I could not see them but pictured them in their "guardsman hoods" but I could certainly get immediate identification by the very unique explosive, strong attentive echoing T'CHAY, TCHAY - of course it was the Marsh Tits, we have a family just around this spot and I get them regularly, its such a pleasure to see them enjoying themselves flitting in the canopy. I guess we do have maybe 3 or 4 breeding pairs on this side of Hutton Roof. 

It was now time like it is on so many days to set off with a plod and a very controlled slow paced accent of this terrain which by now I think I should know every nook and cranny and trying to avoid the slippy bits here and there caused through mossy stones or slippery dead fallen branches or twigs which have somehow got in the way. 

The regular Chiffchaff was just about making a faint broken tinkling call but you could just about make it out as a broken call of the little Warbler.

Nasty "Clegg" flies were attacking you as you again came out into the open areas.  They are proper Mega nasties and before you notice they are on you they have done their damage and draw blood straight away.  I believe they are a type of horse fly and I have had mates put in hospital with these lads, but if I can manage it I will mutter to them something like "kill thi a will" and follow this with a swipe, sometimes they fall to the floor dead (as a door nail!) but more often than not get away to live another day. As if its not bad enough swiping ticks of my pants every half hour and trying my best to give them the best head ache they have ever had! - I guess its all part of nature's pleasures!!

Overhead Swallows saying hello in a twitter which might has well be a foreign language but so so nice, heading South to North on their daily rounds of the local area. Grayling's seem to be everywhere this year and flying past and then down and topple over that's their way I guess "they always seem to land sunny side up"! I even had one scrapping with a Small Tortoiseshell.  Also lots of Small Skippers which must have hatched in the last few days

A family party of five Ravens "honking" away high up heading South, don't know if they are our local group or whether they are foreigners, all of a sudden being drowned out with flying low level aircraft (a frightening noise which always catches you out! and sounds worse when you are not ready for it) but soon back to the Ravens honking - that's a far better noise!

On my way back down later I called off at Ducketts builders to see how their Swifts were doing and I just had the four aerial birds which probably meant with sitters there could be at least three nest. It can be a hard place to count because there are also Swallows and Martins nesting there which is brilliant! but all of a sudden my mind was taken over by a aerial "kekking" and looking up could see Peregrine Mum and Peregrine youngster with mum giving instruction.  But what really stood out to me was that although the skies were empty some minutes earlier, all of a sudden the skies were filled with scores and scores of hirundines and Swifts as though all the birds of Burton had landed here at Clawthorpe, I guess its a question of safety in numbers! but how on earth had they all got the message and got here so quickly!! 

Now back to serious stuff with the orchids. Not that much to see but what you see is the best.  

Today I went back up because I wanted to make sure that Specimen 74 (Lempet with White Epi/bos) was made more safe, so swopped over one of the large cages from over at the 9s where most of those plants were now going over and brought it along to 74.  So here you are with 74 in its new cage setting.


Specimen 74 made more safe from Brown Hares and Deer
(Click over to enlarge)
Specimen 74 on 17th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Variagated on 17th July 2017 (Click over to enlarge)
Above is showing our rare "variagated specimen" which has just straightened up and in line with the timings of other helleborines. Can't wait for it to flower in the next few days. Don't worry I will post the outcome soon I hope!

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First Broad Leaved Helleborine of the Year (16th July 2017)

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Sunday 16th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 1000hrs to 1400hrs

For the last few days its been Green Woodpecker (yaffle!), Green Woodpecker (yaffle!) and Green Woodpecker (yaffle!), wherever I seem to have gone the "undulating flying" chappie has never been far away giving it all.  I think there must be plenty of young birds about this year (a good year), but no problem because we have loads and loads of ants (yellow ones) ready for you!

Odd calls (very quiet and subdued) of hou-whit, hou-whit will have come from either the Willow Warbler or its cousin the Chiffchaff. 

Lots of Butterflies today with Small Skippers (several), Small Heaths (several), Ringlets (lots and lots) Meadow Browns (several) Speckled Wood (one), Dark Green Fritillary (two), Graylings (lots)  - they (the Graylings) still do it! land and then after a split second fall on their side.  I also had one of the large dragonflies hawking over the bracken, talk about flitty you really had to keep your eyes on him.  I am sure the one in question is called "Gold Ringed Dragonfly". 

Mr. Hare you naughty boy! you have been at it yet again - today he's taken out that beautiful Schmalhausenii 70 and 70a (and left 70a with the lovely cherry red plume dangling to rot away!) and also he has taken out another hybrid 17q. So we will miss out on the propogation yet again!

Sometimes the ground was carpetted with Self Heal, Eyebright, Wild Thyme, Tormentil and lots and lots of Hawkweeds.  You felt guilty having to walk over them, so now and again you tried to "hopscotch".  I did check on some Montanums and also some Pulchrums!

First Helleborine of the Year - They always say small is beautiful (Click over to enlarge)

Besides the "Orchid Fields" this pavement below was also my garden today but I do wonder if with age it is getting a bit more wrinkled as time goes on!




My first Broad Leaved Helleborine of the year was showing today and it was a miniature - "they always say small is beautiful".  It only measured about 6" high. Just for if you notice one of the flowers is actually "upside down" - well don't worry it should straighten up with time. They do start off like this and correct themselves later. The majority of the helleborines here have not even straightened out yet! although a few of them are doing today.



My first helleborine of the year (Click to enlarge)

Shows in close up (Click to enlarge)
Went up today specially to check out Specimen 74 which is a Lemon-Petalled (Lempet) but whats more special is that the epichile and bosses are white.  It always come through the same and the plant is under canopy. The deer had predated everything around it a couple of weeks ago and I am pleased at least for now they have left this special one alone.


Specimen 74 Lempet on 16th July 2017

Could not resist peering down the gryke to check out one of our rare Southern Polypody ferns. It's always a late starter and you can just see the young ferns are starting to unravel and before long they will develop into that beautiful "Deltoid" shape.

Southern Polypody fern (Polypodium cambricum) - Click over to enlarge



Source I Love Arnside & Silverdale

A Scollie "Crispum" and a whole lot of Hypericums (14th July 2017)

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And this is the "special one" a Scollie "Crispum" which I only found in late 2016 (Click over to enlarge)

I decided today to have a change from orchids since it is quickly coming to a end with the Atrorubens! and a little window before all the hard work really starts, trying to work out things of what has been going on with the many varieties and hybrids etc.  And I would suspect and it will be at least ten days before our "helleborines" are in flower and then I will be up studying both the "Purpurea" and the "Chorantha's".  The helleborines are just at the point of starting to straighten out. Although I have been looking at photos of helleborines from down South in full flower from about a week ago, so you can see that ours are at least three weeks later (and that does not say that ours are late it will be right on cue for us).

So today I only have a hour or so spare I decided to quickly go and check some goodies which I could easily get good access to run with my timetable.

I checked out a couple of ferns and a whole lot of hypericums.

The fern I had particularly in mind was the new young (in fact baby 6") Scollie "Crispum" (shown in the photo header above) or if you do want it officially here we go Asplenium Scolopendrium "Crispum" or simply Harts Tongue Fern variety Crispum.  And whilst on my way up the Crags called in to have a check on the Marginatum a lovely serrated edge specimen.  So here are the photos:

Scollie "Marginatum" (Click over to enlarge)
Showing the "Marginatum" frond close up (Click over to enlarge)
Going back to the Crispum (header photo), it's of special interest to one or two people besides me and my fernie friend Alec because if this is proved to be a crispum which all the indicators are pointing in that direction - it will mean that 4 separate Crispum's have been found on Hutton Roof (of which 3 have been found in Dalton Crags).  Not bad when you consider the average find for one of these crispum's is one in every twenty years! and Dalton alone will have produced three in two years already!  The fronds on this one at present are only at about 6" so we will see how it comes out in a month or two on!

Whilst in Dalton Crags I thought I would check up on the Hypericums especially on the rare "Montanums" (the Pale St. John's Wort) Our third colony of Montanums has only produced two plants with flowerheads this year plus there are some two others which will not mature at all.  But saying that it's still not so bad - read on please!.

Because I soon got a very pleasant surprise, when I started looking around and maybe some 30 yards away from the earlier mentioned when I found another four plants all in flower in separate but reasonably near to one another locations, looked good plants tall sturdy.  Here is a photo of one of the flowerheads to give you some idea.

A new discovery today - More of the Montanums
(Click over to enlarge)
So that was the start of my "Scollie" morning and there is more, because I thought maybe if I traverse the area I know which I call "Hypericum Way" in Dalton Crags, there would be more of the hypericums on offer and sure enough I was not to be disappointed.  But just before that I had yet even more surprises when I found a small colony of the WHITE "Self Heal" plant flowering in Dalton Crags.

What made this more special for me was that I read a book several years ago written back in 1920 by Wilson and Wheeldon which gave old records of the local area and it was then mentioned that the rare White Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris) had been found "close to Dalton Hall" on the Dalton Hall Estate.  So that was almost 100 years ago. Although I have found some already in Lancelot (a couple of years ago), but up until today had never found any on the Dalton Hall Estate so this means a lot because I wonder if it relates to the same colony which was recorded all them years ago by Wilson! definately worth considering..... here is a photo of today's find.

Rare "WHITE" Self Heal (Prunella vulgaris) on Dalton Crags today
Click over to enlarge)

So following on I hit "Hypericum Way" and was not disappointed to find found "Tutson" (androsaemum), "Slender" (pulcrum), "Hairy" (hirsutum) and finally "Perforated" (perforatum)


Tutson or (hypericum androsaemum) today (Click over to enlarge)

Slender or (hypericum pulcrum) today Click over to enlarge

My favourite! Hairy or (hypericum hirsutum) today
Click over to enlarge.

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Small Skipper Butterfly, Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly and more Orchids (13th July 2017)

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Small Skipper on Betony today (Click over to enlarge)

Thursday 13th July 2017 - Hutton Roof 0900hrs to 1300hrs

Butterflies today included Small Skipper in Lancelot, also lots of Ringlets, Common Blue, Meadow Browns, Dark Green Fritillary and several of the beautiful Grayling - landing and then quickly toppling on their side!

A very special species today was a Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly which Robert Ashworth had over on Uberash Breast.  Its a beautiful lemon coloured dragonfly which I also had over on Lancelot a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to Robert for photo.

Black Tailed Skimmer Dragonfly seen on Uberash Breast, Hutton Roof today
Photo: Kindly shared to us by Robert Ashworth (Kendal)

Most of the atrorubens are going over very fast now and I would reckon some 50% are now at the stage of preparing to seed, although there are still one or two specials still about and this is one of the little beauties which are within the area of 55.  This is a small probable hybrid and named 65g. It lies about 2 metre from the albiflora. In the 55 area we do have 5 of the small (light green stemmed) plants. 

Specimen 65g on 13th July 2017 (Click to enlarge)
Specimen 65g on 13th July (Click over to enlarge)
The following two little beauties are again in the area of 55 and show quite a lot of lemon-petalled in their make up.  I would imagine they will have picked this up from 55 and 66 which are both close by and very strong in the lemon-petalled feature. 1 of the flowers has 22 flowers whilst the other has 23 flowers

Nice pair of lemon-petalled near to 55 (Click over to enlarge
I brought in more area today, a area I knew but not too well and was surprised to find this next little beauty, which was really well protected with bramble etc. I managed to weave in and out of these prickly protectors to finally get to the plant and photograph.


and here we have the photo of the plant after the worthwhile unravel!!



Here is a little beauty I found today and although all the lemon-petalled (or party) always show a slight red rib to the middle of the yellow petal on this plant the red rib goes right through and gives another dimension to the plant.

"Red Ribbing" on this plant (Click over to enlarge)

We are getting more and more of the "Rust Disease" and here you see a plant which is totally infested to the lower sections, yet at the moment the buds of the plant still look OK, now whether or not they will make it is another matter, but certainly interesting.

Rust disease mainly seems to affect Helleborines, more so than atrorubens for some reason, however after saying that our "star" lempet which was Specimen 66 was this year taken down with rust disease.

This is a plant I found today, although I do see it usually on several plants daily.

Rust Disease (Click over to enlarge)
The last post of the day is this little beauty I found today, coming through all bent and twisted but nevertheless a cracker.