Wednesday, 7 June 2017

#30DaysWild Day 7 - Grangelands orchids

After yesterday's rain, I was very glad to find myself walking around one of my favourite nature reserves this morning. Grangelands is very close to where we live and is full of wonderful wildlife all year. In June, though, the orchids steal the show, covering the chalk grassland like sparkling jewels. They're such beautiful flowers and it's such a treat to be able to wander amongst them on a sunny day.

The common spotted orchids were looking stunning, like little sticks of candy floss poking up out of the grass.

Common spotted orchids

Swollen-thighed beetle on a common spotted orchid
There are some very special little orchids that grow in one small area of the site. Musk orchids are tiny, green and extremely rare. In fact they're so tiny and so green that they are very hard to spot, even if you know where they are. You still have to get down on your hands and knees, making sure you don't squash any, and peer into the short grass. When I looked at them today, they had just started to flower. There were plenty of buds showing (I saw at least 30 and I'm sure there are more), so it seems to be a good year for the musk orchids!
Tiny, but very precious

The flowers are just starting to open

There are plenty of buds showing
Many of the other orchids found on the site are just starting to flower, including chalk fragrant orchids, pyramidal orchids and twayblades. There are usually a few bee orchids, but I haven't found any yet this year.
Chalk fragrant orchid just starting to flower

Pyramidal orchid

 In another week or two, the Grangelands orchids will be at their absolute best.

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