Thursday, July 26, 2012

Special species!

The last few days I've felt very privileged with some of the species that I have managed to see.

First, a couple of nationally scarce notable (Nb) moth species. This is a Kent Black Arches moth that turned up in the moth trap yesterday morning. The photo really doesn't do justice to its beauty.

And this Festoon turned up this morning. It's reckoned that the period of their emergence is pretty narrow and so they are easy to miss unless they happen to be flying around close to a trap that's put out mine when it's not raining!

I was really pleased to spot this late yesterday afternoon whilst pushing my bike up a hill! It's Oxtongue Broomrape, a Red Data Book species (RDB2) that is only found here and on the Sussex & Kent coasts.

You can see the long and thin calyx teeth quite well on this photo. Until a few years ago it was mostly found on inaccessible cliff ledges, records in the early years probably coming from local climbers who would descend the cliffs in search of gulls eggs and samphire. Occasionally they were recorded on the tops of the cliffs but, more recently, a few have been found along the chalk road cuttings. The host plant for this species is Hawkweed Oxtongue.

Finally, a plant which, according to my orchid guide, has only been recorded before a few days ago in Wiltshire in England, the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, and County Down in Ireland. It's the hybrid Frog Orchid x Common Spotted Orchid.

Unfortunately, this individual is now on its last legs but, if you want to see it in its full glory, then go to Rog Powley's website here, and scroll along until you find it. It was Rog and his wife, Lyn, who discovered this beauty. They are on a quest to record all of the islands orchids this year and have already seen 17 species. Not bad going!


  1. Crikey, you are having firsts all over the place just lately, well done! All of these species were unknown to me so thanks for the education.

  2. Hi Steve :-) You have had some lovely moth sightings recently and well done on the scarce ones! Nice to see the tigers on the earlier post, very attractive moths!

    Well done on the Oxtongue Broomrape too, I confess I have never heard of it before but thankfully I at least know it isn't something I have unwittingly overlooked locally ;-)

  3. Thanks for the encouragement, you two - it's really appreciated! We spent the weekend back in Bedfordshire and it's currently 23.05 and we're in the middle of the Solent on our way back home....probably a bit late to put the trap out! :-)