A male Dainty Bluet damselfly Coenagrion scitilum, lurking about in the Purple Moor Grass. While I was photographing him he zapped across to the next blade to catch and eat a small black gnat that had foolishly landed there.day before at Chaumussay. If anything, it was hotter, with very little cloud, but there were still hardly any butterflies. On these lusher, less calcareous sites, the only butterfly in any numbers was the Wall Lasiommata megera (not a species I would particularly associate with wet sites, but they like grassy sunny tracks on the fringes of woodland or bounded by hedges). At the end of the survey I popped over to the village of Boussay to check the limestone ridge there for orchids too, so once again I saw more orchids than butterflies. It's not the wet that has delayed the butterflies on the Boussay transects -- some of the species I have recorded here in previous years like damp sites. It has to be the low maximum temperatures in May delaying the adult butterflies on the wing.
A female Violet Oil Beetle Meloe violaceus munches a Buttercup Ranunculus sp leaf.Honey Bees Apis mellifera gathering in a Common Hawthorn Crataegus monogyna on the edge of the forest.
Fly Orchid Ophrys insectifera, so called because the flowers are supposed to look like flies. Personally, I think they look like a Viking wearing a babygrow (or possibly a Winston Churchill style velour onesie).
Like most small, demurely coloured orchids, Twayblades Neottia ovata are worth a closer look.
Narrow-leaved Helleborine Cephalanthera longifolia -- bright egg yolk orangey yellow in the throat, pure white flowers and no bracts at the base.
White Helleborine C. damasonium -- slightly dirty lemon yellow in throat, creamy coloured flowers, each with a bract at the base of the twisted ovary.
Greater Butterfly Orchid Platanthera chlorantha. pollinated by long-tongued moths attracted to its vanilla scent at dusk. You can see the nectar reward in the tip of a flower spur appearing over the 'right shoulder' of the flower facing you.
One of only three species with spotted leaves, out of 40+ wild native orchids growing here, Heath Spotted Orchid Dactylorhiza maculata is also one of the few local orchids that does not grow on the calcareous sites.
Violet Limodore Limodorum abortivum -- who'da thunk such a glamorous flower was a parasite?