On the way back from the long walk around Faccombe and Linkenholt I was tempted into make a short detour. Last year I spent a happy day exploring the Old Burghclere chalk quarries. Here the land was scraped back to raw chalk and now the impoverished thin soil grows a number of rare chalk loving plants. I wanted to compare what I saw a year ago at this time as there has been a very unusual period of weather in the interim. I spent less than an hour at the chalk pit and so only had time to check out the main attractions of this BBOWT reserve.
There were many spikes of the green Twayblades orchid.
Too many Common Spotted orchids (Dactylorhiza fuchsii) to get excited about.
The main attractions of the reserve are the Fly orchids (Ophrys insectifera). There seemed slightly fewer spikes than last year, but I did find them over a wider area than I had last year.
I had too little time to survey the area in any detail. Once again butterflies were notably absent. The only ones I saw were some small brown and blue ones. I think these are Small Blue butterflies (Cupido minimus). A fairly rare butterfly as they stay in isolated colonies and are not widespread. They would not stay still for me, this is about the best I could do.
The only other flying insect I managed to capture was a Tiger moth (Arctia caja).
All seems to be 'as normal' with the plants managing to catch up after the long, cool Spring. Finally, as last year, a picture of the lions guarding Old Burghclere manor house.