Thursday, 30 June 2016

#30DaysWild day 30: Frog orchid finale

It's the last day of June which means it's also the last day of 30 Days Wild. I decided to finish it all by trying to find the frog orchids on Watlington Hill. They're notoriously difficult to find as they blend into their grassy surroundings, but we found them last year so I had a good idea where to look. This year has been so wet though that the grasses and wildflowers have grown much taller than last year. It was going to be tricky!
Theyre in there somewhere!
I completely missed them the first time I walked through the site, but went around again and finally spotted one.
Frog orchid
When I was down on my knees in the thistles taking photos, I spotted another two small orchids close by. I think they must be late flowering this year as these two were tiny and still not fully open.

There were lots of meadow browns flitting around the flowers, and I saw marbled whites, small heaths and ringlets. A delicate little damselfly drifted around my feet, settling briefly before moving on to rest on another stem. Such a vibrant colour!

Common blue damselfly
A tiny shiny green orb-weaver spider had a fly all wrapped up in its web.

I spotted small holes in the path that looked like something had burrowed into the mud, leaving little volcanos of excavated dirt around the hole. I'm not sure what made them though.

There seemed to be a lot of different fungi in the grass. I found my first bolete of the year, which I think must be a summer bolete, as well as a few different waxcaps (but I'm not sure what sort of waxcap they are).
Summer bolete

I found an owl pellet, with what looks like a tooth sticking out of it. I'll give it to Bug Mad Girl and she can dissect it to find out what's inside.

I sat and enjoyed the view across the Chilterns for a while, then headed for home. It was a great way to end 30 Days Wild!

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