Sunday, 3 July 2016

3rd of July: Bloomin' Orchids

With a bout of warm sunshine through June, we are happy to be reacquainted with two old friends this summer on Blakeney Point; Pyramidal Orchid Anacamptis pyramidalis and Southern Marsh Orchid Dactylorhiza praetermissa. Both of which grow in the dune slacks, nestled down in sheltered spots away from the wild winds that blow off the sea. Although both locally common, orchids grow on Blakeney Point in very small numbers and are fragile and slow growing. Extra care must be taken not to damage plants and they should never be picked from the wild. Help us protect these special plants by keeping to the boardwalks and paths to prevent excess trampling and to stop dune erosion.
 Above left: Southern Marsh Orchid; Above right: Pyramidal Orchid

A new face in the shingle
This month we have discovered a single plant of Wild Clary Salvia verbenaca growing in the shingle just outside the Lifeboat House - right on our doorstep! Although locally common in Norfolk, this plant doesn’t appear in plant records for the Point in recent history and is thought to be a new one for the list. It has most likely been brought here by birds as a seed and has taken hold in the shingle to flower this year.  Wild Clary belongs to the family Lamiaceae which makes it a relative of many of our garden herbs, basil, sage and thyme.
Wild Clary

New threads
Whilst some of our chicks are still very newly emerged (including the first Little Tern chicks of the year, on Far Point), many have long since ventured from the safety of the nest and have been out exploring the point under the watchful eye of their parents (and us rangers!) Some of our Oystercatcher youngsters are well on their way to adulthood and can be seen around the Lifeboat House looking very mature in their new threads!

Going Cuckoo
We have had some spectacular views of a visiting Cuckoo. Some days we were treated to sights of up to four birds displaying in the Plantation and their call could be heard all of the way from Gap! The Knot have been great to watch over the harbour too, giving us some spectacular flight displays, forming all sorts of shapes and twisting and turning in unison to reveal a wall of silver like a shoal of Sandeels!
Cuckoo in flight

Seasonal Assistant Ranger

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