Yesterday Tracy and I, inspired by various comments on various social media about the very lovely but understated Autumn flowering orchid, Autumn Lady’s tresses, detoured from the route around the hides at closing time to seek it in the usual locations on the reserve. We were not disappointed, finding several individual flower stems, a handful of clusters of 2 or 3 stems and one small patch, right by the track, of over 50 perfect flowers.
I didn’t take any photos at the time but wandered over at lunch time today, partly to show one of the Welcome volunteers, and partly to take a photo or two, thinking it would be a nice subject for the blog, which I’m sure it is.
Unfortunately they were much harder to find in number than yesterday, something I initially put down to the different light across the middle of the day and lack of contrast between the flowers and surrounding vegetation.
Then Jan spied a stem without flowers quickly followed by several more in quick succession and so we realised that actually the plants were there, but with all of the flowering tips nibbled off, presumably by rabbits or deer. Should have taken a picture yesterday!
Fortunately not all of the orchids had been “shorn” of their flowers so I was able to take a couple of pictures, the first of which clearly shows the intertwining stems which gives the flower both its common name with its resemblance to ringlets of hair, and its scientific name, Spiranthes spiralis.
Another highlight today was that of an osprey on Ibsley Water at lunch time.
Not the first of the seasons passage by a long shot, as there have been 3 or 4 sightings which I am aware of over the last week or so, but certainly the best of the Autumn so far.
According to reports it appeared to have caught a fish in Ibsley Silt Pond near Lapwing Hide which it then consumed off to the right of Tern Hide giving visitors a rare close view of this iconic bird of prey. I caught up with it a little later when it had moved off to the north-west shore of the Lake to have a good wash and it then took off and headed south in a very half hearted, lackadaisical fashion.