But not today. Mike and I pitched up at a small car park just west of Hitchin and made our way to Knocking Hoe reserve. A piece of hillside grassland festooned with flowers. We spent an hour plus marvelling at many species we were unable to name.
Some we were, mainly the orchids. Common Spotted Orchid in a fine stand where we entered, then hundreds of Pyramidal Orchids scattered around, and amongst them many Fragrant Orchids. Apparently DNA analysis has shown there are three species of fragrant Orchid. Lacking my DNA testing kit I was unable to say which ones these were.
Our target was Burnt Orchid, or Burnt Tip Orchid. A lifer for the two of us. We eventually worked out that the tiny stems with dessicated seed heads next to Orange flags were Burnt Orchids two weeks or so beyond their flowering life. Fortunately a couple of examples were still making a fist of it. Next year, beginning of June ...
My prospect for more orchids has been significantly enhanced by discovering Orchid Hunter on YouTube. Clear explanations of where to go and what to look for, and a genuine feel for the ups and downs of the hunt that is familiar to birders as well as other naturalists. Recommended
Here's some photos.
|One of the few Burnt Orchids still standing.|
|A white/very pale pink Fragrant orchid. Just the one noticed.|
|Nice. A few of these. No idea what it is.|