Monday, 2 September 2013

A Little Blue Gem, and an Unusual Orchid Site

I've been wanting to see the beautiful little blue gem that is the Marsh Gentian for several years now and just haven't had the opportunity to go looking for it. Yesterday though, we had to go over to Winchester to take a few things for Martha which we didn't manage to fit in when we moved her a month ago. This was the opportunity I needed as our trip coincided with the Marsh Gentians' flowering period. It was also my birthday so I thought I'd treat myself! It was only a small detour to take in one of the Dorset Heaths and look for the Gentian but I didn't have a lot of time to spare. I was getting a bit worried therefore when at the first site I checked I drew a blank after around a hour of searching ( it's easier to dip a plant than many people imagine). At a second site I was much more fortunate and spotted a couple on my first scan with the bins. They were much more diminutive than the photos I've seen had led me to believe but their vivid blue colouring makes them reletively easy to spot, even from some distance. Close up they are simply exquisite!

There's just the one in this photo but you can see how they stand out.

I love those green spots on the inside of the trumpet.

Marsh Gentian

On our previous visit to Winchester four weeks earlier we stopped off at the services on the M27, not for the usual reasons though. We'd stopped because I wanted to look for an orchid which I'd never seen before (well while flowering) and thought that I remembered reading somewhere they could be seen here. They must be well away from the actual services, I thought. Perhaps I'd have to go into the surrounding woods? But no, they were right there! They were next to the car park, the petrol station and even beside the pedestrian underpass which goes right underneath the motorway! Most people there were obviously totally oblivious to them but they noticed me alright, the nutter taking photos of the underpass! The orchid was Broad-leaved Helleborine and here it is...

Broad-leaved Helleborine

Very pretty flowers when seen up close.
These were further inside a wooded area on site and were much more robust than the ones scattered around in the more open areas...

...although these had much more colourful flowers, probably due to having more light.
This one was right by a footpath.... as was this one...

Not your typical 'orchid country'

Last Wednesday whilst on Beer Head with Steve and Ian M an Osprey was spotted circling just offshore before flying off west. I got a couple of shots of it but in all the Marsh Harrier excitement on Thursday I forgot to post one. I was back on Beer Head this morning hoping to get Garden Warbler for the photo year-list (a bird I've got a feeling I'm going to miss out on) but it was very quiet apart from three Spotted Flycatchers in 'the hollow'.

Osprey over Beer Head

Spotted Flycatcher

Finally, if you were to come into my kitchen at the moment and try to look out of the window you'd see this.....

I really must clean it off, it makes me cringe every time I see it. I actually witnessed the impact and the Pigeon flew off seemingly unscathed. It didn't even hit the floor first!

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