On a windy but warm and dry day a group of 11 explored Harstlock Reserve to see the orchids and chalk grassland flowers. With a late spring and recent cold wet weather most of the flora have been late to flower. We were treated to a large display of hybrid Lady-Monkey Orchids with a few Lady Orchids scattered on various slopes both in and outside the fenced reserve. The Twayblades were showing large closed flower spikes with one on the north-west facing slope outside the reserve actually starting to open its flowers.
Common wild flowers on and around the reserve were: Cowslips, Buttercups, Black Briony, White Briony (in flower), Chalk Milkwort (both blue and pink flowered variants), Salad Burnett, Bird’s-foot Trefoil, Meadowsweet, Yellow Rattle, Herb Robert and Rock Rose. A single plant of Common Gromwell was found adjacent to the steps up to the Orchids.
In the woods at the top of the reserve there were numerous Broad-leaved Helleborines just coming into bloom and near the top there was a single Clustered Bellflower in bloom. A rat was seen running across the path and into the woods.
On the south facing slope there was Horseshoe Vetch, Rock Rose, Fairy Flax and a few small Lady Orchids.
There were very few birds evident (apart from Corvids), but we did see a Mint Moth, Dingy Skipper, Small Heath, a Burnett Companion and a Thick-Legged Flower Beetle.
On the walk back to Goring via the Thames Path we found Ragged Robin in Little Meadow Nature Reserve (Managed by Withymead Nature Reserve) and small areas of Cuckoo Flower adjacent to the path.