Rare and confusing orchids, North Suffolk, 6 June 2014

With a little time to spare between work commitments I ventured out to 3 different sites in north Suffolk this afternoon. The first was my usual site for Frog Orchid where I quickly found c15 spikes in the traditional area. I normally see nobody else here but this time 3 people were looking for the frogs but were failing dismally until I pointed them in the right direction. These are VERY easily overlooked if you don't know the spot! It was pleasing to note both red and green varieties of this locally rare orchid that no longer occurs in Norfolk, Essex or Cambs any more and is restricted to just this site in Suffolk. Pyramidal Orchids are common here too and the first few were just starting to poke their heads up.

Frog Orchid, red form

Frog Orchid, green form
Next stop were a couple of fen sites in the upper Waveney Valley. At the first the mega rare creamy white 'ochroleuca' Early Marsh Orchids were nicely emerged and looking good. I only counted 8 spikes though which I hope is just a sign of my early visit and there are more to pop up as the month progresses. This site is the only place in the UK to see this critically endangered form. A wander around the area also produced quite a few Southern Marsh Orchids (including 1 almost white specimen which may be of the very rare form 'albiflora'), Common Spotted Orchids and a presumed Common Spotted x Southern Marsh hybrid which is shown below. Also here were 2 Hairy Dragonflies, c6 Four-spotted Chasers, Large Red and Common Blue Damselflies.
'ochroleuca' Early Marsh Orchid

Southern Marsh Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid

Southern Marsh Orchid var 'albiflora'?

Southern Marsh x Common Spotted hybrid?

Four-spotted Chaser
A quick call in at the 2nd site, Theltenham Fen revealed that the regular 'incarnata' Early Marsh Orchids are mainly going over but I did find one nice flower to photograph. Loads of Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchids here too with a Cuckoo calling from the woodland at the back.

'incarnata' Early Marsh Orchid

No comments:

Post a Comment