There were a couple of orchid species I wanted to see this year - Military and Late Spider. It became obvious that the season was going to be earlier than usual this year yet the weather was pretty unaccommodating so as soon as a couple of dry, if not hot, days were forecast, I planned to set off on a couple of adventures.
Going out to the car on Friday, I noticed a shieldbug on the windscreen. I potted it and realised that is was a new species for me.
The journey up to the Chilterns was uneventful with an increasing number of Red Kite sightings as I headed north. My first port of call was Homefield. First impressions of this SSSI were not pleasant - a car parking area full of litter and an entrance track plastered in dog shit. But following the directions kindly given to me by Neil Fletcher, I found the orchid field and posted the cryptic message "The Soldiers are at home in their field". By the late 1920s the Military Orchid was thought to be extinct. The colony at Homefield was found by Ted Lousley in 1947 but he would not divulge the locality. In 1956 Richard Fitter and Francis Rose discovered the site themselves and sent the cryptically worded telegram to Lousley.
There were also Common Spotted Orchids. Common Twayblades and a couple of Fly Orchids.
A few inverts were also recorded...
Garden Chafer, Orchid Beetle and Woundwort Shieldbugs in cop.
You just have to.......
On to reserve number two and unfortunately there wasn't any information about the orchids I was interested in. Added Bird's Nest Orchid to the tally for the weekend.
On to Hartslock and the first thing I noticed was the smell of death! A dead crow was the culprit and an interesting beetle was taken despite the lack of latex gloves! Haven't had time to even look at it yet! The Monkey and MonkeyxLady hybrids were as impressive as ever.
Monkey Orchid, hybrids, MonkeyxLady hybrid.