What have the Orchid Observers team been up to?

It’s been a busy time for Orchid Observers! The project got off to a great start when the website went live on the Zooniverse platform on 23 April and the very first of the season’s field records was uploaded on day one! A week in, and we recorded almost 300 people participating in the online activities and an increasing number of people uploading images from the field.

The Orchid Observers team, from left to right: Jade Lauren Cawthray, Jim O’Donnell (Zooniverse web developer) Lucy Robinson, Mark Spencer, John Tweddle, Kath Castillo, Chris Raper and Fred Rumsey

The Orchid Observers team, from left to right: Jade Lauren Cawthray, Jim O’Donnell (Zooniverse web developer) Lucy Robinson, Mark Spencer, John Tweddle, Kath Castillo, Chris Raper and Fred Rumsey

At the time of writing this blog we now have over 700 registered users on the website who have enthusiastically completed 17,589 classifications, by verifying and transcribing data for our historical specimens and identifying species and flowering stages for 1507 photographic records submitted by participants so far. The field records collected span the country, from Cornwall to Perth in Scotland, and from Pembrokeshire across to Norfolk. So far, for early-purple orchid (Orchis mascula) and green-winged orchid (Anacamptis morio) approximately 9% of the records are from new/unknown sites (as measured by 2 km square/tetrad); this is valuable information, particularly for green-winged orchid which is considered at risk of extinction in the UK.

 

Whilst we have not as yet been able to fully compare the Orchid Observers phenology data with our museum records (the relevant, verified, 2015 UK weather data has not been released) we have already been able to see that the median date of this year’s flowering of two species (early-purple and green-winged) is at least 10 days earlier than the museum data (which mainly covers 1830 to 1970). These are early figures only, and the full data set will be analysed later this year.

A herbarium sheet of green-winged orchid (Anacamptis morio); one of around 10,000 historical specimens available online for data verification or transcription

A herbarium sheet of green-winged orchid; one of around 10,000 historical specimens available online for data verification or transcription

We are immensely grateful for the time and good will of all our participants – without this effort we would not have been able to collect these data. And we’ve still got the rest of the summer to collect more data for all our 29 species in the survey!

As well as showcasing the project at public events throughout May and June, some of us in the team have also managed to get out to various sites to record and photograph orchids ourselves to add to the fantastic field photo effort of our many participants!  We’ve visited sites across the Southeast, and further afield in Dorset, Somerset, Wales and Cumbria

 

Mark recording man orchids in Kent

Mark recording man orchids in Kent

Kath photographing green-winged orchids (Anacamptis morio) in Dorset

Kath photographing green-winged orchids in Dorset

Lucy, Jade and Mike collecting photographic records for common spotted-orchid in Surrey.

Lucy, Jade and Mike collecting photographic records for common spotted-orchid in Surrey

The coralroot orchid photographed by Mike Waller in Cumbria

The coralroot orchid photographed by Mike Waller in Cumbria

A rare green form of the fly orchid photographed in Hampshire by Fred Rumsey

A rare green form of the fly orchid photographed in Hampshire by Fred Rumsey

Advertisements

2 responses to “What have the Orchid Observers team been up to?”

  1. Les Forester says :

    6 or 7 years ago, I planted up a horse chestnut that had started to grow in my garden. A year or so afterwards a purple/pink spotted orchid sprouted in the pot despite the fact that the land around is to my knowledge not known for orchids. The orchid has continued to flower in successive years, and this year there have been 6 or more plants. Another orchid of the same species has also started to grow in a patio pot some 10 or so yards away. Unfortunately the flowering period is over and seed heads are now where the flowers used to be. I have thought of re-planting the orchids in a different part of the garden but this would be in a more shaded place, and I don’t want to risk losing the plants altogether.

    Like

  2. kcastillo50 says :

    Thank you for your comment. We think moving the orchids to a shadier place in your garden potentially not a good idea. Suggest leaving them in the pots where they are clearly happy!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: