Friday, May 21, 2010

Chiltern Hills (Buckinghamshire) - woodland and chalk grassland bank

Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus); pair mating

Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera)

Fly Orchid (Ophrys insectifera)

I needed a break from emails and conference calls so took an hour or so out to walk through a wood to a choice chalk grassland bank in the Chiltern Hills. Given the weather (24°C and 70% sun) the target was butterflies of which I saw a reasonable number. However, I was more stunned by the botanising! One wood edge orchid species I rarely see (Fly Orchid - Ophrys insectifera) and one rare grassland species that I have never seen before (Military Orchid - Orchis militaris). Photographs of both are included with this post, as are shots of Chalk Milkwort (Polygala calcarea), Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa) and, in the woods next to the bank, Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon).

Military Orchid (Orchis militaris)

Military Orchid (Orchis militaris)

Chalk Milkwort (Polygala calcarea)

Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa)

Yellow Archangel (Lamiastrum galeobdolon)

Butterflies seen on the grassland bank:

• Orange-tip (Anthocharis cardamines); 2

• Whites (Pieris sp.); 5

• Common Blue (Polyommatus icarus); at least 30 individuals and a mating pair (see photograph included with this post).

• Dingy Skipper (Erynnis tages); at least 10 individuals.

• Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi); 5

• Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus); 5

• Peacock (Inachis io); 2

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