Today I was looking for something very special, a rare variety of common spotted orchid called rhodochila. It has dark red leaves and flowers with a block of dark purple colouring inside and a paler edge, but no spots, lines or whorls. During the guided walk on Sunday I was told there were two plants at Yoesden, so I was keen to see if I could find them.
To get to the reserve, you walk through a wonderful meadow full of wild flowers and insects. Sadly, it had all been cut since my last visit, but a closer look showed the wildflowers were already starting to appear again.
|The meadow looking a bit bare|
|The flowers are coming back already|
|Swallows flying around their barn|
I walked along the top path, down to the far corner, then back along the bottom path and up the side through the trees. Unfortnately the common spotted orchids were way past there best and I didn't find a rhodochila. Never mind, something to look for next summer! There were plenty of pyramidal orchids looking lovely though.
|Gatekeeper - you can tell it's a gatekeeper as it has two small white dots on |
the black spot on the forewing
I found a few flowers and leaves that had been well nibbled, but I couldn't find any sign of what had eaten them. I'll have to keep an eye on them and see if I can spot any caterpillars.
There were lots of other insects around, particularly ladybirds and soldier beetles.
I spent a few minutes watching the bramble flowers on my way back through the meadow and saw my first comma since the spring and a lovely small tortoiseshell.
Another lovely morning at Yoesden Bank!