Spent another day bashing Himalayan Balsam today at Hawthorne Dene. In the process we spotted the following…
• Ringlet butterfly
A relatively common chocolate brown butterfly with distinctive eye-spots.
• Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera)
We spotted this unique orchid, which can take 5-8 years to flower (!) in Hawthorn Dene’s meadow.
Why is it unique? Well, this orchid amazingly mimics a bumble bee resting on it, taking nectar. In fact, the ‘bee’ is the beautifully marked lip of the flower, and this elaborate charade has the purpose of attracting a real bee, which will bring about pollination (in the case of British bee orchids however, unlike other European species, this ruse is nearly always superfluous – the plants usually pollinate themselves!).
• Common Spotted Orchid (Dactylorhiza fuchsii)
The UK’s most common orchid (as it’s name suggests!).
• Speckled Wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)
We saw lots of Speckled Wood butterflies dancing in the dappled shade whilst we were picking away at the Himalayan Balsam.
• Blackbird nest
We also came across a Blackbird’s nest amongst shrub on the woodland floor, a seemingly unusal place for a Blackbird to nest!