Saturday, 22 June 2013

A new area

Sat. 22nd June 2013
      The area where we live is adjacent to many stretches of beautiful countryside i.e. the Ribble Valley, the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales, so we've had no reason to venture into what I though were less attractive stretches of countryside to the south of our area in what was industrial Lancashire.  But things have changed and what was once scarred countryside from bygone industries has now been reclaimed and on our visit to Moses Gate Country park near Bolton we were quite impressed by the unspoiled countryside along the banks of the River Croal down to the confluence with the River Irwell. Both rivers were much cleaner than we expected and although they still have some way to go there were minnows in both rivers so the river clean up is well underway.
                Through Moses Country Park there were many Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids in the grassland and around some of the ponds Southern Marsh Orchids.
            But the main reason for our visit was the Nob End nature reserve which is located on the northern side of the confluence of the rivers Croal and Irwell . The site was used around 1850-1870 as a tip for alkaline waste from the production of Sodium Carbonate. In the past 150 years the site has weathered down and has now become a nature reserve with a rich calculus's grassland which has attracted many plants(some rare) and at least 8 species of orchids.

                                      Nob End nature res.

 Just a few pictures of some of yesterdays flowers on the reserve

                          A new flower to us ..... Blue-eyed-grass

                                   Northern Marsh Orchids

                                     Early Marsh Orchids

                                    Southern Marsh Orchids ?

Friday, 21 June 2013

On my local patch

21st June 2013l

      Looking around my garden yesterday the first wild orchids of the season were opening. I think the darker pink ones at the side of the pond are Marsh Orchid hybrids, but the rest are just Common Spotted Orchids

                                    Marsh Orchid hybrid

There are Water Avens (Geum rivale) and Wood Avens (Geum uranum) growing around the garden  they've just become established from seeds blown in from the surrounding countryside,but on closer examination I think they might have cross pollinated to produce a yellow Water Aven instead of the usual  brown coloured ones, but I'm not so sure about this.

                                            Water Avens

                                           Wood Aven

           The Yellow coloured  Water Aven is this a cross Pollination?

Finally.... The Bee Orchids are showing again this year on the industrial estate grass verges in Burnley

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Searching in Wharfedale

Wed . 19th June 2013
                                Last Sunday we spent almost 5 hours in and around Grass Woods near Grassington. One of the reasons for our visit was to find the Birds Nest Orchid which grows in deep shade in the leaf litter under the Beech trees We were given a good pointer for the locations by Terry a friend who is a great naturalist across a very broad spectrum. After a bit of Needle in a Haystack search Audrey found just one which was quite a good specimen. The Birds Nest Orchid has no green chlorophyll and grows as a parasite on the roots of trees.

           Birds-Eye Primrose at the side of the many paths in the area

                                          Birds-Eye Primrose

                           Wild Pansies in the open grassland

                                      More Early Purple Orchids

                               The darker shade of Grass Woods

        This is what we'd been looking for.... the Birds Nest Orchid

The orchid is about a quarter of the way along the bottom of the photo

The distinctive orchid flower but no colour. This is a new find for us, an unusual and fairly rare orchid

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

My Favourite Time Of Year

Tuesday 11th June 2013
      The weather has been sunny and warm up to today so we took advantage of the warm spell and had 9 days in our motorhome in 2 locations here up in the north of England. Talking to visitors from Holland and Switzerland on holiday in our country they said that that we were so lucky to be surrounded with such beautiful unspoilt and varied countryside and we need never go abroad.  Of coarse the country is at its best in late May and early June and it was an absolute delight to be out exploring the quiet lanes and little known paths in pursuit of our favourite pass time .... yes no surprise, "its find the orchids time again".
      Firstly 4 days around Arnside and Silverdale  around Morecambe Bay an area of woods and limestone pastures, first we revisited the Lotts which is known for its early season orchids.

                  Silverdale Lotts.... a managed area of old pastures

                         Just a few of the many Early Purple Orchids

                            Also the rarer Green-Winded Orchid

                   The woodlands were full of Ramsons (wild garlic)

            Early Purple Orchids growing amongst the Dog Mercury

 Another days walk around the popular area of Arnside Knott finding many more Early Purple Orchids

The Morcambe Bay Walk 9 an eight miles crossing across the dangerous sands at low tide.... led by Cedric Robinson the Queen's Guide. click on photo to enlarge.

              Woodlands along the coastal path full of Lily of theValley

              Checking the beautiful scent of this delicate waxy flower

                         The large expanse of Morcambe Bay

 The Limestone pavements in the area are famous for their wild flowers

                                        Bird's-eye Primrose

                                              False Oxslip

After many years of careful seed sowing and propagation at Kew Gardens (from the last 2 plants in the wild in England), the Ladies Slipper has been re-introduced back into some of its original habitats.

               The wardens must be congratulated on the natural planting

Moving on to Wensleydale in Yorkshire for more walks in this lovely dale.

      Setting off from Hawes one of the highest market towns in England

                        Dry stone walls and Buttercup meadows

                                    Mill Gill Force near Askrigg

                         Through the Buttercup meadows to Askrigg

There are still a few meadows untouched by modern farming

                                More Green-Winged Orchids


The find of the day.....The Burnt-tip Orchid

                 These 3 tiny orchids are to the left of Audrey's hand

Just a few more pictures of our wanderings through the Wensleydale area

                            Through the Meadow to Burtersett

                                   The top of Wether Fell

                               Mossy Saxifrage on Wether fell

                                              Aysgarth Falls

                                    Gateway to Bishopdale

                         Through the meadows to West Burton

                I liked the reflections under the bridge in West Burton

                  Changing the camera settings.... a different result    
Finally the old stone gateway into Waldendale, a dale that we've never walked in before