Green Hound's-tongue

With the south-east having been awash with good birds - Roller, Red-rumped Swallows, Terek Sandpiper - I did the sensible thing and went looking for plants - I'm nothing if not utterly predictable in my perverse choice of where to go and what to do.

My location of choice was Juniper Bottom (where the Hawfinch flock was earlier in the year). The flowering season is, without doubt, behind where it should be. The Bugle (pictured above) was showing well, with plenty of spikes offering themselves for insects to feed upon. The trouble is, the insects are largely missing. Only a few bees were seen, and butterfly numbers, too, were depressed. I did see two Dingy Skippers and a single Grizzled Skipper, but it was hard work. Moth-wise up to a dozen Speckled Yellow were on the wing.

Along the road by the car park there is a major botanical rarity - Green Hound's-tongue. A few plants were starting to flower, the picture above showing the muted dusky-pink colour of the petals. It is not the most showy of plants, but I am very fond of it.

A wander up onto Mickleham Downs took me through some fine beech woodland where over 200 spikes of Bird's-nest Orchid were found.


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