Sunday, 10 May 2009
Merry's Meadows & Rutland Quarries 10/05/2009
I fancied a change of scene today, and decided to use looking for Orchids (prompted by Dave Gray's exploits) to check out a couple of sites I haven't been to for a few years with a view to mothing there in the summer. I had the boys in tow - they were keen to see snakes and lizards again so came along just in case. First stop was Merry's Meadows near to Greetham and Stretton. Plenty of Green-winged Orchids in bloom, mainly accompanied by Cowslip. The main meadow Green-winged Orchid Spotless green leaves help to separate from Early Purple Orchid Apparently it is usual for a colony to have a small number of pink plants - I found two without trying. Adder's Tongue Fern is also present at this site - I wasn't sure how big it was or how abundant, so I had to look for a while before realising it was quite small and prolific in patches. Adder's Tongue Fern Cowslip - probably. I am notoriously bad at plant ID On the track leading to the meadows, Alex found this large beetle. I've identified it as Bloody-nosed Beetle Timarcha tenebricosa after a perusal through Chinery. Bloody-nosed Beetle I was disappointed that the fields all around the meadows are sown with Rape - this bastard crop could easily invade the meadows. Very few butterflies and no moths noted in the meadows. Reporting out of sequence to keep the orchid thread going, our last stop was Ketton Quarry. At least 5 Common Lizards were on show but no sign of the Adders this week - probably too late and hot when we got there. Grizzled Skippers and Green Hairstreaks again noted, but no Dingy Skippers. I found a few Common Twayblades in one of the compartments which has been thoroughly denuded of scrub. They were only just flowering, and the sun was too bright to see what the hell I was photographing in the camera display, but here's a shot of the first couple of open flowers on a spike. Common Twayblade Our second stop was actually Bloody Oaks Quarry. I haven't been here for a long while but it looks great still. No sign of any Twayblade here, but Grizzled Skipper and Green Hairstreak both noted. I will definitely be mothing here this year. Josh found a partial skull (lower jaw missing, some damage to top) which he insisted on bringing home. After checking a relevant web resource I've confidently identified it as belonging to a dead Rabbit. The latticed effect on the rostrum is diagnostic, along with the dual incisors. Apparently.