Tic Tock times up - orchid season is nearly over.....

June 29, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

So the final curtain is near, the last few summer orchid species are giving it their all for a final burst of summer colour. A great season this year if not a bit earlier than usual. There are a few still to come but they are proving tricky to track down, we will see...

With camera in hand the short trek to Fontmell down was made and a descent through the steep slope of short grass was undertaken, amazingly 6 species were found, though one was marked by seed stems - is that cheating?

Eyebright Self Heal Flowering Grass

Along the way a few scattered eyebrights were to be seen , plenty of Self Heal and flowering grasses. Once on the Valley floor Pyramidals and Common Spotted started to appear with Regularity along with the odd Chalk fragrant clinging on and even fewer Bee Orchids popping up every so often. A few seeding stems of Butterfly Orchid were also to be found as my path took me along the Valley's lower slopes.

Common Spotted Orchid Bee Orchid As yet Unknown as yet unknown

A couple of mystery species were also found, a bit of research should soon reveal their name I'm sure. I followed the path along the left slope through a tree lined path, this was where I encountered my first dinner guests, although they should be titled Dining guests as it would appear I was to be the main course - Ouchy ouchy! The pain was worth it though as at the end the path opened up onto a wide expanse of downland and plenty of the usual suspects - Pyramidal, Common Spotted, Chalk Fragrant and Bee Orchids but then my eye tuned into something new....... a Twayblade, and then another and then as my eyes became accustomed, the landscape was covered in them, mostly gone over but a few good examples still remained.

Twayblade Marbled White on Greater Knapweed Yellow Rattle

Along with all the orchids were also plenty of Yellow Rattle and Greater Knapweed populated with Marbled White butterflies. With images captured I made the arduous journey back through Dinner Tunnel and endured yet more biting things and strode, (huffed and puffed), back up the 1 in 3 slope to the car. Once home, after glancing first on the computer at my evenings hard work I then discovered one more of Fontmell Downs fauna - Tics, I removed some 15 or more from my Torso!!! well worth remembering for the future!


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