Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Friday, 20 June 2014

Small, Green and Rare...

Probably the best way to sum up the Fen Orchid Liparis loeselii, one of our rarest and most difficult species of orchids to find. It's distribution in the UK has declined over the last 20 years being found now only in fens and wet dune slacks in two locations, one in Wales and one in Norfolk. I took a day off yesterday to go and search for it and after practically crawling around on my hands and knees for an hour, I found these two! Their cryptic colouration helps them blend into the surrounding vegetation and the tallest spike was only 6cm high. I did find another about 10ft away and to be honest, I didn't look too hard after that. I think I was very lucky indeed.

Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids: R. Harris
Fen Orchids - just about going over: R. Harris
Flower close-up: R. Harris

There were lots of other fantastic plants there too, including thousands of the following...

Early Marsh Orchid, spp coccinea: R. Harris
Marsh Helleborine: R. Harris
Marsh Helleborine: R. Harris
Marsh Helleborine: R. Harris
Pyramidal Orchid: R. Harris
Pyramidal Orchid: R. Harris
Bee Orchid: R. Harris
Restharrow: R. Harris
Ragged Robin: R. Harris
Meadow Thistle: R. Harris
Viper's-Bugloss: R. Harris
Viper's-Bugloss: R. Harris
Viper's-Bugloss: R. Harris
Unfortunately I ran out of time here - could easily have spent the entire day walking the dune system. Loads of insects out too including good numbers of Dark Green Fritillaries. But I had a another appointment that I didn't want to miss with another rare and most peculiar looking orchid. 

Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Flower close-up: R. Harris
Does it look like a lizard...hmm?
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
Lizard Orchid: R. Harris
What a day - great weather, great plants in great locations. You can't ask for too much more than that.


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