Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Greater Butterfly Orchid - Plas Newydd - 10th June 2014

This afternoon after fieldwork, I decided to hop on the train to Llanfairpwll (a station I've never previously actually ever got off at (leaving Valley and Prestatyn on the North Wales line to alight!)). I made the short walk to Plas Newydd: a National Trust site along the Menai Straits of Anglesey.

The main target here was Greater Butterfly Orchid which grows here and nowhere else on Anglesey. It took me ages to find the area where they are, but eventually found about 20 specimens. With Lesser Butterfly Orchid fresh in the mind, it was nice to compare the two looking at the column in the centre of the flowers with Greater getting wider to the bottom and Lesser being parallel sided. This were also noticeably more green/cream toned at a distance than the very white Lesser Butterfly. A lovely orchid and my 13th species.
I was temporarily excited as I saw the above orchid and it looked like Southern Marsh to my untrained eye. Closer inspection revealed it to be a very large and robust hybrid Common Spotted x Northern Marsh. Several hybrids and seemingly pure examples of both species were present in the arboretum.

Also managed to come across these two superb bumblebee mimics, with Volucella bombylans completely fooling me until I got home! Astonishing to think this is a hoverfly and not a bumblebee
Volucella bombylans
Cheilosia illustrata

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