Friday, 25 June 2021

All in a Day's Work

Most of the time, work is just work and has few redeeming features. But once in a while it provides me with genuinely excellent moments. Like today.

For 14 years now, one of my customers has left the small back lawn uncut all summer. I would imagine the property was built perhaps 40-50 years ago, probably on what was once grazing land, or something like that. Anyway, after five years the first orchids appeared - two Southern Marsh Orchids. Since then they've popped up every year, with a peak of approximately 30, though this year there are only 12. However, also this year, the first two Common Spotted Orchids! When I phoned to book today's visit I checked it would be okay to take some photos...

Look at those lovely purple blobs! Top left (below the statue) are a Southern Marsh and Common Spotted Orchid side by side.

Southern Marsh Orchid

Common Spotted Orchid. The spotted leaves are visible in the grass.

Common Spotted close-up. What a flower to have in your garden!

Well, messing about with these gorgeous plants made me a bit late for lunch. But I'm not complaining. Because three seconds after I'd finished munching, Tim Wright put a message on the local WhatsApp group: Cuckoo at Seaton Marshes. I was just a couple of minutes away, and the Cuckoo kindly waited for me...

The Cuckoo was a bit distant, and perched in a shady spot, preening. Beggars can't be choosers though.

A sexy bit of undertail

I have seen very few Cuckoos locally. I think this is only my fourth in 18 years. And I've heard two others. So, a bit special.

In other news, yesterday evening I had a walk at Cogden and photographed three different umbellifers. And at the moment, that's as far as it's got.

But I also found myself scanning fields for orchids, like a birder would do for birds. In one meadow that has no public access I found this lot...

Spot the monster Bee Orchids. That one on the left!!

And the lurking Pyramidal...

Mega-range orchid spotting. Three creamy coloured Greater Butterfly Orchids, roughly a third of the way up the photo.

Orchids everywhere it seems, beckoning like sirens to the rocky shore of botanical doom. However, before temptation overwhelms me I am confident that juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls will come galloping over the horizon in the nick of time. And I shall be saved.


  1. Hmmmm. So you know how 'in the old days' there were no Caspo or Yellow-legged Gulls, never mind stuff like Azoreans etc, well some plant guides may not depict the very many hybrids that occur in the world of orchids. Which doesn't detract in the slightest the pleasure in fnding and looking at them, but knowing there are hybrid swarms out there may be something to stow away in your fast burgeoning botanical mind. Obviously you checked the angle of the pollenia in those butterfly orchids to suss the species involved, assuming they were still attached and not stuck on the face of some moff or another.... :D

    1. See? This is why I really need to leave plants well alone! 😄

      The small part of my brain reserved for 'obscure minutiae of dubious import' is already full. Gull stuff got there first!

  2. I don't tend to see many orchids around here, heavy clay soil doesn't help - I assume. But, the first umbrella plant I looked at was a hemlock. I have my fishing head on now so that'll doe for a bit.

    1. I wish you piscatorial success, and look forward to reading about it. 😊

  3. "beckoning like sirens to the rocky shore of botanical doom." Brilliant!


    1. Ha ha! Thanks Malcolm. Orchids do sing a seductive song!