Sunday, 2 April 2017

Sunday 2nd April 2017

What could be more important than both watching football and bacon butties?

Well, the answer could be lying in secluded corners of woods and on exposed downland. Yes, in a word, its orchids.

So, after getting up, getting dressed, there is time for coffee an cereal before we load the car up and set off for deepest nother Kent. Well, near to north Kent anyway.

The A2 was pleasant enough, little traffic about, and the morning was glorious, and everywhere we notice some new bright flower bobbing on the verge. Just if there were time to investigate them all. Up by Chatham, we turn off and end up driving up a familiar narrow lane, parking on the edge of the wood, where we can already see a carpet of wood anemones. I get the cameras out of the boot, and walk through them, snapping as I go, as in this wood there are even better, more wondrous sights available.

Ninety A hundred yards further on, there is a sea of green with a sheen of blue, where the first flowers of the Bluebells are beginning to open. I hoped for more, but then it is just the second day of May. I can remember one year where the middle of May wasn't this forward!

Early Purple Orchid Orchis mascula THere will be time for bluebells later, as my prize was the small group of Early Purple Orchids, which I know grow round a clearing. Sadly, just a couple of spikes had begun to open, one with a single flower open, but it looked like it would be another week's wait. But further on at the top of the reserve, among the green and blue of the bluebells, I see pink. And there are three partially open spikes.

A Golden Morning I go down to snap them, record shot, close up, very close up. And again and again to each of the spikes. Further down the site, there is a large number of Lady Orchid rosettes, and all of a fine size. The smallest already had the spike splitting, and showing the beginnings of the pink flowers forming. Again, on the 2nd April!

The Bank The one thing there was a shortage of was insects: a Peacock butterfly landed at my feet, I was so surprised I just looked at it, and when I moved to bring my camera to my eye, it flew off.

We drive off again, going to another reserve, this time back in proper orchid country off Stone Street. Although too early for Fly, there was the chance of more EPO, and also Green Hairstreak butterflies, if we were lucky.

The Climb Down the narrow lane, reversing the car into the tiny layby, and then entering the reserve. I look for the two Lady that are in a clearing near the gate; they looked in a sorry state, all yellow instead of bright green. Caused by the dry winter I guess.

But on the walk to the top of the site, we pass hundreds of Twayblade rosettes, some putting forth a spike. Then in a clearing, there are bluebells and two partially open EPO again. At the clearing, we look under the corrugated iron to see if there were slow worms or an adder, but nothing moved when we picked it up. Neither were there any butterflies on the wing, not even a Brimstone, which I know thrive here.

The Kentish Bluebell Wood We return to the car, with the morning having ticked through, we call in at a garden centre on the way back for yet more pots, before returning home for bacon butties and a brew.

And we go out again after lunch, there is always one more site to look at, and so is the case again. Barham is a good, quiet place, but is recovering from some lumber work in the winter to thin the mature trees. Many spikes will be flattened or growth stopped by uncollected trees, but it will recover, and be much better next year.

Up the bridleway there are more EPO partially out, including one nearly completely out. I snap that good, but have to wait for the sun to come out from behind a cloud to get the right colours in the shot. Over the other side of the road, the forest floor is littered with thousands of Twayblade rosettes, and a few Lady rosettes too, but nothing out yet. These woodland orchids can be weeks behind their downland living cousins.

Happy with half a day's orchid hunting, we return to the car, drive back to the A2 and home, passing no other car until we get to the main road.

There is football to listen to, shots to review, blogs to write and then dinner to cook. I do a little of each as Jools works in the garden, and so the afternoon passes. We have roast beef and the trimmings, and another bottle of pink fizz, eating just before seven.

And then reality bites, as I have to pack and get ready for the early start tomorrow, another week in Denmark. How soon the weekend slips through our fingers again.

1 comment:

nztony said...

I hope you'll be taking me here.