|Common Spotted Orchid|
Yesterday I took up a new role as Assistant Reserve Warden at the Wiltshire Wildlife Trust's reserve at Morgans Hill on the Marlborough Downs. Morgans Hill is a superb area of mostly north facing chalk downland. It has a stunning array of orchids, wildflowers and butterflies. Unfortunately I didn't see any butterflies yesterday because the weather wasn't great but I was shown a good number of orchids and wildflowers by Reserve Warden, Tony Coultiss.
We spent several hours walking round the reserve discussing the role and generally observing what was happening on the reserve. I was on the look-out for birds whilst Tony showed me round.
There were a large number of yellowhammers, meadow pipits and skylarks. I saw a couple of ravens flying away from the reserve, a grey partridge in the car-park and best of all I spotted a red kite on the slopes just to the north of the site. Absolutely amazing bird and really pleased because that's the first time I've seen one in my locality.
Here you can see some of the plants that we observed. The fly orchid is particularly rare and Tony had never seen any kidney vetch on the site in the previous six years. However, he knew
that it was present because of the presence of a particular butterfly that only feeds on kidney vetch.