This year’s OSG Field Trip was to Kenfig Burrows on the 10th of June. On a bright sunny afternoon eleven of us, including five who are not members of OSG, met at the Visitor Centre. Roy gave a brief chat about the reserve, what orchids we were likely to see, as well as a reminder of the need to be sensitive to the presence of the extremely rare and threatened Fen Orchid.
We set off along one of the marked paths, which was still very muddy in some places. We soon reached an area where the vegetation was thick with various flowers including the Southern Marsh-orchid (Dactylorhiza praetermissa) in some numbers. It was immediately apparent that there was considerable variation in size and colour of the inflorescences, a feature which makes identification of species of this genus difficult, even for the expert! We then saw some large spikes of the Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), very much gone over of course, but an orchid which has been particularly splendid at Kenfig this year.
The next species was the Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) just coming into flower and still small. In this area we might have expected to have seen some Bee Orchids (Ophrys apifera), but we saw none. We then moved on to a large flat dune slack, still very damp, home to a wonderful range of flowers and of course orchids. Southern Marsh-orchids were much in evidence and showing the very dark colouration which seems to be a feature of this species at Kenfig. Also present in some numbers was the Early Marsh-orchid (D. incarnata ssp. coccinea) which is a beautiful dark red and the species generally found on dunes. Less frequent was the nominate subspecies (D. incarnata ssp. incarnata) which is a rather pale fleshy pink colour. We walked carefully around the area, eventually arriving at where the Fen Orchid (Liparis loeselii) is found. Close to the path were some of the small inflorescences in superb condition. We continued our walk around this large slack, and in the grassy banks at the side, rather small plants of the Twayblade (Neottia ovata) were to be found. Also in this area were a few plants of the Northern Marsh-orchid (D. purpurella) including some with very heavily marked leaves.
But the high spot of the day was to be found on an area which has been scraped to encourage plants like the Fen Orchid, and now seems to be rewarding us with large numbers of this species. We can only hope that other areas where scraping has been carried out produces similar results. On the drier spots we also found the Common Spotted-orchid (D. fuchsii), a species that is not so common at Kenfig.
We then made a slow retreat back to the Visitor Centre and, after a chat about the species we had seen, we said our goodbyes.