After two days working on the new shed , I was glad to get out , and had arranged with a hedgelaying colleague , back in March , to take him to see some Orchids . Carol was due a visit to her friend in Ashford , so I dropped her off there , then met Tony in the wilds of deepest Kent .
Our first target was Monkey Orchid , but , on arrival at the site , things did not look very good , with no sign of the species around the quarry area . In fact , it was birds that caught the attention , with a pair of Mistle Thrushes feeding on the bank , whilst in the scrubby areas , Yellowhammers sang from the tops of Hawthorn , Blackcaps , Chiffchaffs and several Common Whitethroats supplied the backing . Even a short burst of a Nightingale was heard . Lots of Twayblades , and the odd , past it's sell by date , Early Purple Orchid was found , before the first few , many of them browsed by rabbits , Monkey Orchid was found . This is a rare species , and is only found on this site and a handful of others in Oxfordshire . The only other Orchid found on the site was a single Fragrant , the flowers of which were still in bud . Good numbers of Common Blue butterflies were recorded , including a mating pair , a single each of Orange Tip and Brown Argus , neither stopping for a shot . As we were leaving , another enthusiast was arriving to photographer the Monkey Orchids that he had found in bud about two weeks ago . Not one of the specimens that he had seen then were still standing , all nibbled of by the obvious large Rabbit population on the site , he was not a happy man .
With other species to find , we headed to another site , this time mainly covered by woodland . Having parked the car and walking to the site , I couldn't resist photographing this horse , looking as if it was in a snowy field , but the 'snow' was in fact Oxeye Daisies . Almost straight away , we added Lady Orchid to the list , but the numbers were much fewer than on my last visit . Much walking followed , but Fly and then Greater Butterfly Orchids , pictured , were added . It turned out to be the only specimen of this species found on site . A couple of Helleborines , White and Broad-leaved were added , the second only in leaf , they will flower in early July . On a sunny bank with Horeshoe Vetch in good number , we found a newly emerged Adonis Blue male , and on the edge of the woodland , what I thought from a distance to be a female Broad Bodied Chaser , turned out to be a Hornet , probably a queen from the size of it . A Turtle Dove was hear 'purring' on the farmland edge , but it was not seen . The last Orchid species found today , was just before we left the site , a Common Spotted , just starting to flower . Other butterflies recorded included 3 Brimstone males , 2 Large Whites , and a very worn Comma , that must be one of the last surviving overwintering adults .
Leaving Tony to make his way home , happy with his list of 8 new orchids , 10 in all , all photographed , I headed to pick Carol up . House Martins always nest in the friend's road , but none have returned this year . That gave the local House Sparrows a solid platform to make their nest on .
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