Ashwellthorpe Wood, 30 April 2014

With an impromptu day off I needed to head to Wymondham. As I passed right through Ashwellthorpe en-route it seemed like the ideal opportunity to spend a little time in the ancient woodland of Ashwellthorpe Wood, a site I've not visited for a few years.

My main aim was to see how many Early Purple Orchids survive there and I was more than impressed as there were many hundreds scattered around the edges of the blue carpets of Bluebells. There was quite a bit of variation in colour of the orchids, with standard purple ones, the odd paler pink one and a single white one with unspotted leaves which isn't something I've ever seen before. Reading up on them it seems they are rather  rare. The one I saw (photographed below) was approaching the rare variant 'alba'. Some of the specimens in more open sunny rides where very robust.

Wild Garlic was also common and birdwise a brief snatch of Nightingale song was great to hear. Into the bargain 3 Sparrowhawks and a Common Buzzard circled on thermals over the wood and Willow Warblers now seem to be well and truly 'in'

Today was also a butterfly day with 10 species clocked up which aint half bad for April - Orange Tip, Small White, Green-veined White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Small Tortoiseshell, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Holly Blue.


Early Purple Orchid (quite pale specimen)

Early Purple Orchid (white specimen with unspotted leaves)

Early Purple Orchid (normal colour but robust specimen)

Wild Garlic

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