Southern Marsh-orchid

At this time of year mornings and evenings are the best time of day for photography. Often I have other commitments which stops me making the most of them, but today I was out early, trying to get ahead of the strong winds forecast for most of the day.

My first stop was Southorpe Meadow, where the Southern Marsh-orchids were just coming into flower. I was supposed to be leading a walk round this site later in the week, but as that has been cancelled, I am producing a self-guided trail, so that members of our wildlife group can visit independently. 

My second visit was to Swaddywell Pit, where a second colony of Man Orchid (see extra) has recently been found. I found it quite easily and counted 24 flowering spikes. It always gives me a thrill to see the anthropomorphic flowers, subtle but very beautiful. By this time the wind was really quite strong, though I managed to find a sheltered corner where I spent a little time photographing hoverflies.

I had planned to visit a third small site on my way home, but just as I parked there was a heavy shower, so I decided to give it a miss. Sadly the rain didn't last for more than a few minutes and has had no real effect - the countryside is looking drier than I've ever seen it in May. We really need a couple of days of gentle, steady rain, but there's no prospect of this in the next fortnight.

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