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Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Another good catch last night. Couldn't sleep emptied trap and surrounding area at 3.30am (it was quite light even then)  but not sure it made any difference being so early other than a few more moths flying around. New for this year were Grey Dagger, Currant Pug, Gold Spangle, Nut-tree Tussock, Grey Arches, Bright-line Brown-eye, Ghost and Setaceous Hebrew Character. 

Please can someone help with confirming the two pictured below. Two different shots of the one. Again, please excuse the quality - must get a good camera.

Also, if there are any botanists out there (Ian?) please can you confirm which Butterfly Orchid the photo shows. I found this whilst walking our hay fields yesterday. Only the one plant as far as I could see and in a field we have never had orchids in before - we get a lot of the purple orchid species but never this one before.  


  1. Sally - at my first, very provisional glance, it looks like lesser (rather than greater) butterfly orchid, but you really need to look at the pollen-masses (the `pollinia`) within the individual flowers. Those of the lesser lie parallel, whilst the those of the greater diverge downwards. Have a look at some individual flowers and carefully open/cut them to see the pollinia.
    As a general, but NOT infallible rule, lesser tends to be on more acidic sites than greater, but they can even occur together, and they hybridise too!
    Sorry to hear that you did n`t sleep well - I slept `like a log` last night, possibly dreaming of moths....this time of year, some of us become `moth zombies` through lack of sleep! I`ll be putting the home trap out tonight, even though I`ve got a long day in the field tomorrow. It`s clear but still warm tonight.

  2. I was thinking the pollinia (just about visible on the lower photo) looked divergent, but a close-up of one flower would confirm which species it is. I'm living in hope for Butterfly Orchid in our meadow, so yours gives me added hope Sally. We have had Southern Marsh (2) and Southern Marsh x Common Spotted (1) for the first time this year. Orchids are clearly on the move!

    The top wave is definitely Riband (there's the diagnostic kink in the costal corner of the outer band) and the middle one is almost certainly Riband too (it's a bit fuzzy at that angle, but I'm sure it's got the same kink). The Beauty is a Willow (look at the shape of the outer line of the central band).

  3. Thanks both, much appreciated and will make further checks of the pollinia. Good luck with your meadow Sam - ours have been in reversion for almost 20 years. It is very time consuming, particularly as we no longer have our small herd of Highland cattle - I spend a lot of time controlling encroaching bramble and bracken by hand as found this method most effective. I have left areas of both as I know these species are good for many other species but have to ensure they don't take over.

  4. Thinking later, Sally....there`s probably some online info (ie diagrams/photos) showing the different disposition of the pollinia...try `googling`?

  5. Pollinia divergent - checked today..

  6. Greater then, as Sam suggested. A nice plant record.