I made the most of a quiet day to visit Bedford Purlieus, where there is a thriving population of Broad-leaved Helleborines in a deeply shady beech plantation. I arrived at the same time as another man, who'd been to a talk I'd given to the Rutland Natural History Society six years ago. We got chatting and I ended up taking him to see the helleborines.
I spent some time photographing them and then decided to go and see if I could find the Violet Helleborine colony. As I was heading up a gentle hill I met another naturalist, and again we got chatting. She ended up coming with me so we trekked quite a way across the wood, but sadly didn't find them. When I got home I checked my information and found that we'd been very close but just needed to walk about another 100m! So my quiet walk ended up being decidedly sociable!
By the evening the sky had cleared and I pondered having another trip out to see Comet NEOWISE. But, as I had an early start the next day I decided it wouldn't be a good idea, so tried viewing it from the garden. It's much less bright than it was a week ago, but I was able to pick it out with binoculars (see extra). I took a few photographs, not expecting a great result from a rather urban setting, but was surprised at the clarity - now all the neon lights have gone there's no orange glow!