Monday, 8 June 2015

#30DaysWild day 8: The secret garden

Yoesden Bank is like a secret garden, hidden away in the Chilterns, that always seems to be full of the most wonderful surprises. I've been meaning to visit for a couple of weeks, but never seemed to find the right time, so I was determined to get there today while the sun was shining.

To get to the bank, you first have to walk through a wonderful meadow bursting with buttercups and ox-eye daisies. You can't help but smile when you're there!

Then you follow a path through some trees and it opens out into a sunny chalk grassland bank, with amazing views of the Chilterns. I love walking through the entranceway, as you never quite know what you're going to find.

There were hundreds of Common Spotted Orchids growing all over the bank, but they were all quite small.

Orchids with a view!
I sat down to wait and see if there were any butterflies flying and immediately noticed a couple of Small Blues in the grass next to me. They're the smallest of our resident butterflies and are darkly coloured on the upper wings, with silver spotted underwings.

Small Blue

I made a new friend
There were plenty of Common Blues and Small Heaths dashing around amongst the flowers. I followed some of the Common Blues, hoping they might just be an Adonis Blue, but none of them were a bright enough blue. I stopped for a moment to get a better look at one of the butterflies and realised that right next to me was a Bee orchid. I couldn't quite believe it. It was only about 10cm tall and only one bud was out, but it was very exciting to find it out there. It was the only one I found and it was pretty amazing that I saw it at all. It totally made my day!

Bee Orchid
Bee Orchids are brilliant and as the name suggests they look like big fat hairy bumblebees sitting on a stalk. The maroon lip, decorated with yellow markings, is the body of the bee and the two small hairy side lobes are the bees knees. It has two green petals that represent the antennae.
A Bee Orchid showing off its hairy knees

Still can't believe I actually saw it!
I carried on walking around and found lots of interesting flowers and grasses.


Hoary Plantain (I think)


Horseshoe Vetch - Foodplant for the Adonis Blue and Chalkhill Blue caterpillars
White Helleborines - hiding in the shade
Then I saw a flash of bright blue in the corner of my eye andrealised there was a male Adonis Blue flying around. I followed it for a while and eventually it settled and let me take some photos. Such a brilliant blue colour and a real highlight to see it today.

I also spotted this fly. Not sure what it is, but it was quite large and impressive!

Another brilliant morning at Yoesden Bank - I just love that place!


  1. Funny that you should find a bee orchid as I have just drawn one for my latest How To Draw lol

  2. They're lovely aren't they - especially their hairy knees!

  3. your summer looks so far advanced to ours up north in Sutherland, thanks for sharimg

  4. your summer looks so far advanced to ours up north in Sutherland, thanks for sharimg

    1. Thank you - it feels like the wildflowers have all burst into life in the last week or two, so maybe you're not too far behind. Love this time of year!