We are selling up and moving from Skye to North Oxfordshire, swapping remoteness, dramatic, sometimes austere, landscapes and unparalleled wildlife for the cosiness of a Cotswold village.
In between packing, I have been completing this year's orchid survey. I have not had a chance to analyse the data yet and lack of time meant that I only counted the early marsh, northern marsh orchids and the butterfly orchids. There are as many heath fragrant and heath spotted orchids as ever but I am not sure if I would have learnt much from counting the 400 or so spikes of each. I have though taken lots of photographs of the heath spotted orchids to show the range in the patterning, colouration and shape of the heath spotted flowers, a few of which follow.
I have also been completing the croft flora, with a few garden weeds bringing the total up to 146. There may be the odd grass that I have missed, or maybe a willowherb, but I think the job is done now, and is a record for comparison in the future. There are no rarities, save for a few hybrid orchids. Dactylorhiza x evansii, the hybrid between heath fragrant orchid and heath spotted orchid is uncommon, as is the hybrid between early marsh and heath spotted. There are a few of each of these hybrids. The photos below are of a very pale form of D. x evansii; it could be mistaken for a heath spotted orchid but the plant is scented and the spurs are too long - a very elegant plant!
The bird count stands at 76. I thought I had an addition when I saw a tawny owl in the early evening down amongst some eared willow bushes, but it turns out that I had recorded it oreviously based on hearing the call one night.