Leaves are appearing.
Habitat management consists of bramble removal, but not every year. We are though experimenting, and this year we removed bramble from the study section in January, but not the other half of the South enclosure. There were only 5 new plants in that section compared to 101 plants last year, whereas in the North enclosure, where bramble was removed in January there were 30 compared to 186 plants last year. On the face of it, bramble removal does seem beneficial, but it is probably simply a matter of being able to find plants more easily.
The next visit will be in early May when buds should start appearing, but we don't expect flowers until early June, 7 weeks from now. Then we will do a full survey of flowering and non-flowering plants, from which we can draw proper conclusions about population dynamics.
The orchids seem to take longer to flower, shaded in the Chilterns, compared to those out in the open on Skye. Buds around 24 v 18 days from first leaves, flowers 45 v 30 days from first leaves. The landowner also noted that a few plants he has in a meadow always flower earlier than those in the woodland which we are studying.
Yesterday light levels in the orchid enclosures were the same as in the open, but when the plants flower light levels are maybe 60% of those in the open, as leaf cover (mainly beech) intensifies.