Monday, 6 June 2016

#30daysWild Day 6: Bird's nests and musk buds

The sun was shining and it was such a beautiful morning, so I took the dog for a walk around Pulpit Hill and Grangelands. We're very lucky to live just down the road from this site, where there's all sorts of very special wildlife hiding away in the woodland and out on the chalk grassland. Today I was planning a little expedition off the beaten track to see if the bird's nest orchids were in flower yet.
Pulpit Hill in the sunshine
Last time I checked there were plenty of buds, so I was hopeful they'd be out today. They're strange orchids that live in the dense shade of the beech trees. They have no chlorophyll, hence their pale colour, forming a parasitic relationship with fungus to obtain their nutrients. To get to these I had to leave the path and make my way through the undergrowth, then scrabble down a fairly steep slope. It was worth it though as they were looking fantastic.

This years flower on the left, with last years dead stalk on the right

I made my way back to the path and walked down the hill to Grangelands. I had a look for the tiny musk orchids that grow in one small part of the reserve and found them in bud. They are so small that you could very easily miss them, even if you were looking for them. It won't be long now until these flower.
Musk orchid bud

Further round I found plenty of common spotted orchids starting to flower.

The white helleborines, hiding away in their shady corners, were also flowering.

Finally, we stopped and enjoyed the wonderful views from Grangelands. Even the dog stopped running for a couple of minutes to take a look.

What a brilliant dog walk for day 6 of 30 Days Wild!

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