#30DaysWild 14 An unexpected orchid

We’re claiming a small success for #30DaysWild today: this orchid has appeared by the wildlife pond, at the edge of the mown path. It’s the first one we’ve found at Wheatland Farm that’s not growing on Popehouse Moor SSSI.

It’s not very spotty, but we’re assuming it’s a heath spotted orchid, and has arrived as a wind blown seed (or maybe on a boot?) from the SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). We’ll have to mark it carefully, and make sure it doesn’t get mown. Most orchids like to have their favourite soil fungi around, so presumably this one has found some favourable conditions. Maybe more will spring up, and we’ll have to adjust our mowing management. This bit of grass has been mown, with the clippings collected, for years now, so the fertility level should have been reduced substantially, and that will favour the orchids rather than the grass.

It’s interesting to find it anyway, particularly this year as the orchids on Popehouse Moor are not having their best year – we’ve hardly seen any, presumably as the spring was a bit dry for them. In other years we’ve had carpets of orchids to show guests to the eco lodges. But numbers in the main patch do vary from year to year, so we’re not too worried. And maybe they’ll just be a little later: in some years it has been into July that we really see them.

Previously on #30DaysWild

This time last year: we were sympathising with everyone feeling a bit like a faded butterfly as GCSE exam season approached its end.

This time in 2018: a young blackbird was looking rather bedraggled in the rain. This year we’re pretty sure the blackbirds are on to their second broods.

This time in 2017: We were finding dragonfly exuvia at the Wheatland Farm wildlife pond. June is one of the peak months for new dragonflies, so we keep a close eye on the pond.