Day 8 – Do a Wildlife Survey


Before I talk about today can we just take a moment to appreciate that today’s counter is adorned with the best animal that exists on this planet!!!

After a bit of Otter loving it’s back to 30 Days Wild! Today at work I had the opportunity to help out with an Orchid survey. Plants are not my strongest area, but I am doing want I can to remedy that so this was a chance for me to learn more about surveying and monitoring rare plants on a reserve.

Today we were looking for Man Orchids at Totternhoe Knolls. A survey earlier in the year had located the ‘winter greens’ (aka leaves) of the plants. Each had been given a number on a little plastic tag and a grid reference of the location recorded. Our task was to relocate each plant and note down if it was still present and if it was flowering or not.

On the hunt for Man Orchids

I think it was a fairly successful day. There was one area which had been fenced off to protect the flowers from the danger of hungry sheep that contained some real beauties. Unfortunately a few irresponsible photographers had been clambering in to get ‘that photo’ seemingly uncaring about what other plants they crush but it doesn’t seem that there is any lasting damage.

A wonderful Man Orchid
Some of the orchids marked out

Once most of the Man Orchids had been re-found we turned our attention to Musk Orchids. These are tiny little orchids and their leaves are fairly nondescript as orchid leaves go, making them rather tricky to find. Totternhoe Knolls is the only site in Bedfordshire these plants can be found and then only in a tiny area on one of the slopes. We got down on our hands and knees to scour the bank and managed to locate over 40. It’s too early in the year for them to flower so the locations have been noted down and we’ll be checking on them later in the year.

These surveys are vital for us to know how well certain species are doing but also to see how our habitat management is affecting them. We need to know what’s there to be able to protect it!

Stay wild!


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