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Orchid Glade Open Day

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SFPT enjoyed a dry and sporadically sunny open day yesterday morning.  The site is changed from June’s showing of orchids into a sea of yellow – fleabane and agrimony – which are starting to tempt the butterflies.  Compared to last year’s big butterfly count, there were no peacocks, yet, but a tortoiseshell and a pair of common blues were bright draws amongst the numerous gatekeepers.  Pond-dipping found many baby newts, water boatmen and a snail and underfoot startled froglets escaped from trampling feet.  Four large hawker dragonflies helicoptered overhead, never settling and ruddy darters pottered about near the pond.  The long grass also sheltered some enormous crickets which bounded off at the approach of an investigatory eye.

New umbellifers were found, near the deer exclusion zone: wild carrot and upright hedge parsley.  Corn sowthistle is growing near the marsh woundwort – whose flowers look very like those of an orchid, but the leaves are very different.  This time of year, the rabbits have so much food they aren’t cropping the flora so closely and so the common centauryt and red bartsia have gained some height.  You can see more images from the day in the orchid glade gallery and you can join in the species recording at our Simpsons Fromus Valley Reserve open day later today!

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