They're very unusual plants. With very small, stunted leaves and no green chlorophyll, they look almost like the dead stems of flowers that you're more likely to see in the autumn. They're very much alive though and form a relationship with fungus to get their nutrients, which in turn get their nutrients from the roots of the beech trees.
They're quite tricky to photograph, as their cream colour is hard to pick out and they grow in the deep shade of the beech trees, so it's usually quite gloomy. Occasionally the sunlight breaks through the trees in just the right place and puts one in the spotlight though.
There were plenty of white helleborines flowering at the same site. It seems like a good year for both the bird's nest-orchids and the helleborines. I was quite surprised the slugs hadn't eaten more of them, especially after all the rain we've had recently.
|White helleborine - you can see how steep the slope is that they were growing on|
|Chalk fragrant orchid|
|Common spotted orchid|
I spotted my first common blue butterflies as I walked around, 2 males and a female. The males are such a brilliant bright blue and a sure sign that summer is almost here.
I also saw a green-veined white and there seemed to be female brimstone butterflies flying everywhere, looking for places to lay their eggs.
|Brimstone laying an egg|
|The precious egg|