Thursday, 2 June 2011

Butterfly (Lesser) bonanza

A day out with friends in the New Forest yesterday turned into an unexpected orchidfest. The supposed reason for the visit was to see if, in this early season Wild Gladiolus was out, it wasn't! However at the same time we managed to get some pictures of the white variant of the purple form of Early Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza pulchella, although I must admit because of the the problem of photographing white flowers in bright sunshine they were not exactly brilliant. It seemed then that the job was done and socialising was called for!

However on the way to the pub we decided to drop in at a site for Lesser Butterfly Orchid, Platanthera bifolia, just in case there were a few in flower.

There weren't, there were thousands! Scattered over a large area heath growing amongst Ling and Bracken, they were a spectacular sight especially where in places they were also with Heath Spotted Orchid, Dactylorhiza maculata. Lesser Butterfly is not a species I see very often and so for this year when our local orchids have taken such a hammering it was especially satisfying to see.