6 Sept 2014

6 Sep 14 - Lady's Of The Autumn

I'm never been particularly excited about Flowers & when I've expanded my horizons beyond Birds, Butterflies & Amphibians (the latter two I got into even before Birds), I have preferred to look at Mammals & other Insect groups. Basically, I prefer things that move. There are a few exceptions in the Flower world that I have spent some time photographing, primarily Orchids & Sundews. At this time of the year, the Spring & Summer Orchids are more or less finished & then when you think it's all over, Autumn Lady's Tresses start appearing. They are easy to overlook, being no more than 3 or 4 inches high & that's the biggest ones. This is a species that really likes short grassland & the best thing is they like Birding sites. I first saw them at Dungeness around the moat at the end of Aug 1980. Since moving to Dorset, I've seen them in a number of Autumns, around Durlston, Winspit, St Aldhelms & Chapmans Pool. A few days ago, Graham Armstrong mentioned he had found them at Greenlands Farm & that was a good excuse to have a look around the Greenlands Farm part of the Studland patch.
Autumn Lady's Tresses: Greenlands Farm. There are just over 100 in a small patch (6 Sep 14)
The following day was the WeBS count. I check the Wytch channel from private fields on Fitzworth. Whilst walking up to my viewpoint, I found a few Autumn Lady's Tresses in the cow field. As I walked back, after completing the count, I ran into a larger patch of 40 within about a 10 metre radius of where I was standing. At this point, I rang Kevin Lane, who does the adjacent Fitzworth/Ower sector, who joined me as his count was over. We stopped counting when we passed 200 stalks & had still only covered a small percentage of the field. If the density was uniform across the field, there would be a few thouand in that field alone. Given there are several other equally similar looking fields nearby, the chances are these fields support a really good colony of Autumn Lady's Tresses. Unfortunately, these fields are strictly private, but they do occur at Durlston & I'm sure the Durlston rangers won't mind pointing interested visitors in the right direction to see them there.
Autumn Lady's Tresses: Fitzworth (7 Sep 14)