Orchids survey from Malta by Ian Brodie

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Orchids survey from Malta by Ian Brodie

Post by MWP admin » Mon May 05, 2014 7:47 pm

Mr. Ian brodie have visited Malta for over 2 weeks and botanised our islands mostly for Orchids. He wrote a diary and recorded the species he encountered and was happy to share the infor on the forum. I thought of posting it in this section for the moment.

Many thanks to Ian for sharing these after his hard work and all the writing.

6th - 27th March, 2014

We stayed west of Valletta, about half way between the capital and Gozo, at the Coastline Hotel. We had some rain in the first week and some cool winds on many days however, we managed to get out on all days and covered most, but not all, of what we would have liked to have done. Spring is great for wild flowers but the archaeological sites and some of the architectural splendours of the towns and villages also had draws.

In terms of Orchids the islands had had a very wet November and a record sunshine in February. Undoubtedly this was a factor in what we found. We visited many of the areas covered by Mike, but by no means all, and some other areas that proved rewarding.

We had some trouble with id and was greatly helped by Stephen Mifsud (see http://www.maltawildplants.com) who also guides visiting naturalists. Names of species also proved a little difficult with different sources varying in their naming. For Grid References I have used the British system and taken the approximate GRs from the Kompass 1:25000 map (which is not always accurate on overlaid information largely due to being out of date). The GRs are to 100m but a few are km squares. A botanists was staying at our hotel for a week with a party and we managed a couple of short conversations. One note attached is attributed to him (RS).

The other useful information on a web site was a paper on the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (see www.mepa.org.mt/file.aspx?f=9905).

9th March: Garigue by road junction Wardija Ridge 44479768
2 specimen possibly Orphys collina (Anacamptis collina). In seed. This species had apparently ‘gone over’ in February and no flowers were found on any site during our stay.

12th March:
walked from Xemxja to Mellieha around the coast. We repeated this walk two weeks later in the opposite direction with only a few variations (see 26th March when we had more time).
Anacmptis urvilleana (no A. pyramdalis was found on this site as this appears to start flowering in April. Only one site did we recognise the foliage -see 25th March).
On the ridge behind Xemxja church (44499791) we found 100+ in flower. Rocky/garigue.
Between some small fields on a rocky area 44489806 Orphys fusca (20+ flowering stems).

13th March:
walked from Dingli cliffs to Clapham junction but very cold and exposed to stay long. Dingli was revisited later for a longer period (see 22nd March) and is noted below.

We walked the section of cliff from the Bobbyland cafe to Ta Zuta (44349686 to 4449955 and then on the road).
Along this stretch we found a number of Orphys bombyflora especially west of radar dome and east of the chapel.
By the Radar Dome were a good number of Orphys fusca.

At Clapham Junction the O. bombyflora and O. fusca were again found in small numbers along with 3 flowering spikes of O. sphegodes.

14th March:
We walked from Mgarr to coast and north along rocky/garigue to coastal edge of Badja Ridge.
In Mgarr 44139756 2 possible A. collina in seed.
On the ridge by the cliff edge c440977 square: A. urvilleana (20+); Orphys melitensis (50+) and Serapias parviflora (1 in flower). This latter site was revisited on a better day and more extensively researched (see below 16th March).

15th March: Red Tower ridge
44029815 (north of road) A. urvilleana (20+ flowering spikes spread around but spread over a wider area); O. fusca (10+)
43959814 (south of road) O. bombyflora and O. melitensis (c5 flowering spikes).

16th March: Walked from Golden Bay over coastal fringe of Badja ridge, on to Sweethaven and over garage to Mellieha Bay.
O. bombyflora x2 44059773; x10 43999799; x20 44069795.
O. sphegodes and O. melitensis (1 of former and four of both patterns of latter) in one group 44029781.
Orchis coriophora ssp. fragrans x2 flowering stems 44049786.
O. urvilleana stretched along path but mainly 440977 area with occasional flowering spikes 443977 and 440980.

north of Sweethaven:
O. urvilleana scattered in southern half of 440980.
O. melitensis (both patterns) spread through south-easterly part of 440980 and north-west area of 441980.
O. sphegodes 1 flower at 44099808.
S, parviflora 1 budding 44069807.

17th March Gozo. walked from Mgarr, westwards to Ta Cenc.
Only find was 100+ O. bombyflora as flowers, going over flowers, buds and rosettes.
RS noted, a couple of days earlier in this area 2 flowering O. speculum.

18th March Comino -walked a circuit of the island.
No orchid found despite 5-6 hours of looking!

19th March St Thomas Bay and walk to south.
Munxar cliffs at top 46119678: x10 O. fusca
Xrobb l-Ghagin nature reserve:46139666: x10 A. collina with seed heads.; a single S. parviflora

20th March: Walked from Haggar Qim to Ta Zuta keeping near coast when possible.
At Haggar Qim site (between two temples) 449965: 60+ A. urvilleana; and towards memorial x10 O. bombyflora.
Above Mnajdra and towards road to north-west:
x2 A. collina (seed heads); 10+ O. bombyflora with a handful of both these species nearer to road but south of wall at c.44929653
Ta Zuta c44579669:
O. bombyflora (100+); S. parviflora (1 bud, 1 flower); A. collina (3 seeded).

22nd March: warmer day spent entirely on Dingli cliffs between Dingli cliff bus stop and Bobbylands cafe. Apart from first area all time was spent between road and cliff edge.
Area 1 north of road: O. bombyflora (100+) as rosettes, buds, open flower and finishing flowering; O. fusca (30+) 44519675

Area 2 from opposite above site up to Magdelena Chapel: This was the most productive of all our site visits. c 44479678
O. bombyflora (all states as above) 200+
O. speculum 3 - (1 in flower, 2x in leaf)
S, parviflora (c20)
O. fusca (2)
O. phryganae (2/3)

Area 3 Magdelena Chapel to Radar Dome 44449678
O. fusca (40+)
O. bombyflora (20+)
S. parviflora (2 + I over)

O. speculum (3)

Area 4 Radar Dome to Cliffs Cafe c44409682:
O. fusca (50+)
A. collina (seed 5)

Area 5 Cliff Cafe to Bobbylands Cafe c44359684
A collina (seed 2)
O. bombyflora (5)
S. parviflora (2)

23rd March: GOZO walked coast from Dwejra to near Xlendi with no orchid sightings!

25th March: Dingli and walked northish to Bahrija sticking to coast when we could.
Anacamptis pyrimadalis (20+ rosettes to north of road by explosive factory) 44279691
Off piste c44349695 O. bombyflora (from bud to full flower 50+)

Garigue/rocky site on cliff from opposite road junction down north to buildings 44069719. We had only half an hour here but the site needed more time.
O. bombyflora (300+)
O. coriophora (6)
S. parviflora (3)
P. melitensis (both forms) (10+)
O. fusca (10+)

and to north of buildings: 44059721
O. melitensis (2, I of each form)
O. bombyflora (7)

26th March:
Walk from Mellihea to coast and eastwards to Xemxija.
Mellihea 4437994
urvileana (1 going over) -by early Christian grave site/ garage.

b) Selmun Palace and north of hotel alongside track. These are all abandoned fields. c44439799 to 44429802: A. urvileana (1000+), I repeat (1000+); and O. melitensis (1 at c 44429802)

c) Another abandoned set of fields below above site c 44459804: A. urvileana (100+)

d) Towards point on coast by towers: O. coriophora (10+) c 44469807; another (10) c44569802; and another (3 in flower + over) c44569799. Also in this latter area A. urvileana (30+) and S. parviflora (2). This small area of rocky garage needed more time.

c) just outside Xemxija on a ridge (Tal Korta?) behind the church: 44489791 to 44519795:
A. urvileana (110+) in various states but mostly in flower.

Ian Brodie
25 April, 2014.
Stephen Mifsud

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