Tuesday 12th June 2012 - Penny Hill Bank

Today I decided to re-visit another of my favourite places in Worcestershire, Penny Hill Bank NR.  The weather was although considerably milder, very dull and still not great for butterflies.  But my main purpose today wasn't to look for inverts (although that is always at the back of my mind this time of year).  No I had decided to pay a visit to check out some of the site's floral specialities.  In particular the 4 species of orchid that I knew were present at the mo thanks to a bit of info from my old mate Jared 'Bellamy' Tibbetts.

On the way up to the reserve I recorded 4 Yellow Shell Moths along the public footpath that runs at the edge of the adjacent field.  There were also good numbers of Pyramidal Orchid along this path.

In the reserve itself, good numbers of Greater Butterfly Orchids and Common Spotted Orchids were apparent.  But it took a fair while rooting around at ground level to find the fourth orchid on my list, the diminutive Common Twayblade and finally I found one that was still in bud.  There is an abundance of wildflowers on this limestone hillside but, as flora is not my forte, I couldn't identify much of it.  Although something that did catch my eye was some rather stunning Hoary Plantain that was in flower.

I only recorded one butterfly on the visit and that was a single Brown Argus.  The reserve wasn't a complete wash out in terms of invertebrates though as I did find a rather stunning Crepidodera fulvicornis Leaf Beetle.   

Whilst on the reseve I could here a Tawny Owl periodically calling its 'ke-wick' call from the nearby woodland.  Also noted at Penny hill Bank was a single Slow Worm.

Yellow Shell (Camptogramma bilineata)

Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis)

Greater Butterfly Orchid (Platanthera chlorantha)

Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)

Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata)

Hoary Plantain (Plantago media)

Leaf Beetle (Crepidodera fulvicornis)

Slow Worm (Anguis fragilis)


  1. Beautiful photos Jason, I love the slow worm. I caught one last year, but, it wasn't a good as yours.

  2. Cracking set of photos, Jason. Nice one.

  3. Thumbs up for the Hoary Plantain - that's a little beauty I see here on the downs. Never seen your Greater Butterfly Orchid, though - must check if we get them here.
    Yellow Shell is a beauty, too - make a nice cover design for a notebook.

  4. A very nice, varied post and selection of photos Jason. Lovely to see all the different orchids and you did well to track down the Common Twayblade. I suspect I may not have realised what I was looking at if I had seen it!

  5. A productive visit then Jase, got a few nice photo's there too, lets hope the weather holds now :-)

  6. Bob - Thanks. I love Slow Worms...there is just something about them!

    Dean - Cheers Mate...it was a good few hours out

    Rob - I'd never noticed/seen Hoary Plantain before but it is a cracker! bKeep you eyes peeled for those orchids mate

    Jan - Thanks...it was a nice place to visit and looking for/at the orchids was something a bit different for me.

    Warren - I'm with you on the weather mate. I will have to start putting some time in again on my patch soon but it just hits such a lull there during this time of year...especially if the weather is pants!

  7. Well done for persevering to get your 4 Orchids Jason. Like Jan I would not have known the ID for the Common Twayblade. I have checked it out since reading your blog post, a very nice Orchid indeed!

    Super images Jason!

  8. Well done for seeing everything on your list; it would have been frustrating to go home with one thing not ticked! Slow worms are brilliant arn't they; we had one in our garden a couple of weeks ago, will fish that photo out at some point. I've only recently realized how colourful beetles can be! Your Leaf Beetle looks like he's been dipped in gold. Great photos :)

  9. Pam - Thanks. I'm out my comfort zone with orchids too as flora isn't really nmy forte but it was certainly a worthwhile trip

    Omi - Thankyou. Slow Worm in the garden!!! now I am envious.