Wild June orchids and roost counts


#30dayswild  continued into day 23 which was a little damp and busy but I found time to catch up with not a bird but an orchid. I had heard that there were large numbers of bee orchids near the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on a roundabout near the new Round House Way development and there were. I have never seen these delicate creations in the flesh before and they didn’t disappoint.

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Bee Orchids 

The bee orchid is a creation of evolution designed to lure bees in with the promise of love and let them down badly after they have assisted with pollination. They are also flowers which will pop up in proliferation one year and then disappear the next so enjoy them whilst you can.

The orchids were unsurprisingly accompanied by bees which proved hard to capture but later near the village I caught up with another first and they have duly made it onto The Butterfly Collector Pages.

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Large Skipper feeding on thistles made me think of little red riding hood in respect of the what big eyes you have.

Whilst birding was a secondary obsession on day 23 it was the primary objective of day 24 which was another busy day but presented an opportunity for a dusk walk and count at my local WEBS survey site. The benefit of a dusk walk is that all the waterfowl which are spread out during the day collect in the middle of the water when they roost allowing you to count them more accurately. And collect they did, but they were not the first highlight of my walk which was a huge buzzard which dropped out of an oak tree over my head which was followed by another pretty plant which I thought would be worth identifying.

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Hedge Woundwort which reminds me of Watership Down

Next on the walk were a number of singing whitethroats and chiffchaff followed by another plant.

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Common Spotted Orchid. It may be common and it was getting dark but it was delicate and made me consider carefully where I put my big feet.

Having waited for the birdlife my roost count presented loads including 50 black-headed gulls 49 Canada geese 140 Greylag geese and 54 Egyptian geese. Even taking into account the youngsters these are the biggest numbers of the geese I have seen locally.

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Egyptian goose in record numbers at 54 birds

My evening walk was not over as I attempted to circumnavigate the mere I was frustrated by first local flooding and then a heavy burst of rain. In view of the inclement conditions I packed away my camera. whilst I had views of grey heron and listened to jays and blackbirds serenading the evening none were obvious photo opportunities .Then I walked round  bend and a few feet in front of me was a fox playing with a recently killed mole. The fox was quite large but presumably a youngster and was toying with the mole like a cat with a mouse and was completely oblivious to me until I went for my camera and then it was gone…

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Red Fox Credit: Fakre via Compfight cc

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3 thoughts on “Wild June orchids and roost counts

  1. What wonderful flora and fauna. Are the orchids only indigenous to England or other parts of Europe. Do you know if they might be found in the State – New England in particular. I would love to have the bee orchids in my yard to feed the honey bees. What a delight to come across the young fox! Last year, we had a pair living in the general area of my home. We only occasionally saw them, but sometimes they were quite obvious. Of course, as an X-files fan, I named them (Fox) Mulder and Scully

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    1. According to my good friends at Wikipedia the distribution of the Bee Orchid is as follows:

      Ophrys apifera is a widespread across central and southern Europe, as well as North Africa and the Middle East. Its range stretches from Portugal, Ireland and Denmark east to Iran and the Caucasus. It is quite common in the Mediterranean region eastwards to the Black Sea,[7] (Codes) [8] but is less common in its northern range being uncommon or local in Germany and Ireland.

      In the UK, it has a distinct southeastern preference, being more common in England. Recently it has been found in the southwest of England in Butleigh near Glastonbury in Somerset; whereas it is only to be found in coastal regions of Wales as well as the Hodbarrow Nature Reserve in Millom, Cumbria,[9] and some parts of Northern Ireland. It is relatively common in the northeast of England and in recent years large numbers have appeared in the grass verges surrounding the Metro Centre in Gateshead.[10] In Scotland, it was thought to be extinct, but was rediscovered in Ayrshire in 2003. In some countries the plants have protected status.

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