Not so bloody Early Spider Orchids!

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Sunday 2 May 2010 18:25

A miserable day but despite the elements Oliver Froom and I tried to see some of the earlier flowering rare plants in Sussex. The cold winter has slowed everything down though and the Green-winged Orchids at Anchor Bottom are only just getting their shit together, they will probably be at their best in another week. Birds were good with Corn Bunting, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Willow Warbler and Whitethroat. At Castle Hill, the Early Spider Orchids were nowhere in site. Four Wheatears were hanging around in the valley bottom, thanks to Oli for this photo of a knackered looking female. Invertebrates were completely out of the picture today. The highlight was a single specimen of Early Gentian found by Oli. The specimen is just about to open up. This species is endemic to England and is protected by British and European law but in David Streeter's new book he states that it is not genetically different to Autumn Gentian. The species is smaller though and is only found on tightly grazed chalk grassland in the south east. The key thing though is the early flowering season, Autumn Gentian is not out until August. Back to the spider orchids though, I think they will need another two weeks to be worth looking at.

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