I spent this afternoon searching for Frog Orchids at Badbury Rings. As this site is only fifteen minutes away from home, I thought it’d be a pretty poor show if I didn’t manage to find the Frog Orchids on my own patch.
It took me a while, but I did eventually find some, the first ones when a call from my wife distracted me from photographing a Pyramidal Orchid, only for my eyes to fall on a group of Froggies.
Some of the ones I found today were much larger than the ones I saw last week at Noar Hill and Ladle Hill.
There were both the green flowered variety.
And the much redder variety.
The Common Fragrant Orchids, most of the Common Spotted Orchids, and the vast majority of the Bee Orchids were past their best, but I did find this single Bee Orchid that wasn’t in bad condition.
The Pyramidal Orchids were putting on a spectacular show.
And today I thought I’d take an alternative view of a Pyramidal Orchid.
One of my Echeveria has finally flowered, and lovely flowers they are too.
We recently purchased a Gazania Apache from a nearby Garden Centre and I have to confess its flowers are absolutely gorgeous. They open up in full sun, and the petals close and curl in on themselves when the sun goes down.
Its been about a fortnight since I visited the Heath Fragrant/Marsh Helleborine site in New Forest, and I thought I’d drop in tonight to see how the Marsh Helleborines (Epipactis palustris) were progressing.
I was pleasantly surprised to find quite few spikes out in flower. This is the first time that I’ve actually seen this species in flower, so was pleased to find them out.
I also found some tall white orchids in a very boggy stand of trees. There were some Heath Spotted in amongst them, but this particular plant didn’t have any spotted leaves. I’m not suite sure what it is, but haven’t had a really good look at the flower shape.
Today has been a bit of a mammoth day, which improved after a pretty bad start. Just as I was about to leave, I found that the car had a flat tyre, so I took it to Kwik Fit, and 80 odd quid and an hour and a half later I was on my way.
First off was a trip to Wilverley Bog in the New Forest to search for Bog Orchids (Hammarbya paludosa). I’d visited the site on Thursday morning and despite having located the orchids previously it still took me over 45 minutes to find them today.
The bog orchids are so small, only about 30-35mm in height, I had forgotten just how difficult they are to find. A thoughtful friend had marked the general area, but I still struggled to find them.
There were lots of flower spikes of Bog Asphodel (Narthecium ossifragum), which is one of my favourite wetland plants, they look amazing when flowering en-masse.
After the New Forest, it was on to Noar Hill near Selborne. Noar Hill is a wonderful nature reserve which is apparently on the site of a medieval chalk working. I have never seen so many orchids in flower as I did at Noar Hill today. Here are a few that I saw today.
The jewel in the crown at Noar Hill is the colony of Musk Orchids (Herminium monorchis) which can allegedly reach thousands of flower spikes. There were plenty of Musk Orchids in flower today.
One of the first orchids I found was a few Frog Orchids (Coeloglossum viride), though I have to confess that they are much much smaller than I’m used to. The Frog Orchids I saw at Noar Hill were smaller then the Musk Orchids, probably only about 5-6cm high.
There were plenty of Pyramidal Orchids (Anacamptis pyramidalis) out in flower, including some absolutely stunning, ones that were almost Burgundy in colour, but I always have problems with re-creating the colour when I process the images.
There were lots of Common Twayblade across the reserve, but most of them were looking past their best.
There were also lots of Common Fragrant Orchids, including quite a few all white ones.
Common Spotted Orchids were everywhere.
Whilst at Noar Hill, I met someone who gave me the heads up about some of the late flowering Burnt Tip Orchids (Neotinea ustulata) near Burghclere, so I trekked over there but was out of luck.
When I got to the site, I found sheep all over the site so I may not have been in the right place. I think a little more research is needed before I come back. After Burghclere, I decided to try my luck at Parsonage Down, though I knew it was a long shot as the orchids here are generally of the early flowering variety if my memory serves me correctly.
I didn’t manage to find any Burnt Tip Orchids at Parsonage Down, but did manage to find about 6 Frog Orchids that people keep telling me they can’t find at this site.
Today I called in at a site to see whether or not I could locate some Bog Orchids before work. It took me an age to find them and didn’t leave any time for photographs, but I did manage to grab a nice shot of a Marsh Orchid. Not quite sure whether its a Southern Marsh Orchid or an Early Marsh Orchid, so if anyone can ID it from this shot, please let me know.
Having been given the heads up on a location for Heath Fragrant Orchids (Gymnadenia borealis) in the New Forest, I decided that I’d chance my luck tonight to see whether or not I could find them.
Even though I had been given directions, it took me ages to find them, as I was not expecting them to be actually growing in the boggy areas, and to start with concentrated my search on slightly higher ground. When I finally located them, they were growing on the small hummocks within a bog, which surprised me slightly.
There were hundreds of Heath Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata), a few Lesser Butterfly Orchids (Platanthera bifolia), growing in similar conditions to the Heath Fragrant, and a few spikes of Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) coming up, although they’re still at least a week away from flowering.
Here are the results of tonights orchid hunting and photography.
The first three shots show the variability of the flowers and colour of the Heath Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza maculata).
Here are some of the Heath Fragrant Orchids that I managed to find growing on grassy hummocks in a bog. Its the first time that I’ve managed to find these in the New Forest despite trying for a number of years.
Finally, I found a few flower spikes of the Marsh Helleborine (Epipactis palustris) which is another species that I have never found in the New Forest. I can’t wait to see this species in flower, so will come back in the next week or so to see how its progressing.
Last but not least there were loads of dragonflies about, but only this female Keeled Skimmer (Orthetrum coerulescens) let me get close enough to take a photograph.
This morning, I got up early and visited a nature reserve in Somerset to hunt for Lizard Orchids (Himantoglossum hircinum), which I have wanted to see since I was about 15, but to date have never managed to be in the right place at the right time.
This year, I finally did it with some assistance from Lizard Orchid, thanks again Brian.
Here are the best shots.
The site was absolutely covered in Common Broomrape (Orobanche minor).
I was lucky to find quite a few Lizard Orchids (Himantoglossum hir cinum)
I thought I’d try an old site for Early Marsh Orchid tonight, but struck out, all I could find were Heath Spotted Orchids and what looked like a hybrid between a form of Marsh Orchid and Heath Spotted.
Here are a few Heath Spotted Orchids showing the variation in flower at just one site.
Later I visited a site at Holmsley for Lesser Butterfly Orchid where I saw possibly the most densely packed flower spike on a Lesser Butterfly Orchid that I’ve ever seen. The orchids were spectacular, but the mosquitos were out in force.
I visited a location where a pitcher plant has been proliferating for the past 20 years or so, and was shocked when I couldn’t find it. It has been almost entirely removed, I don’t know whether this has been removed immediately or whether this is “management” undertaken by the Forestry Commission, if anyone knows, please let me know.