Monday, 11 June 2012

Blagdons Meadow, Plymouth - 10th June 2012

The day was a complete contrast from yesterday - cool, overcast and wet - but by the afternoon it had become just drizzly so I headed out on the bus for a wander around Blagdons Meadow by the River Plym.

Bird wise it was quiet with 2 skylarks songflighting and with a third bird also seen. A kestrel hovered overhead and along the river a grey heron was feeding in the creek with 2 little egrets. A pair of mallards were resting in a small puddle in the Meadow formed from all the recent rain we have had.


Despite the weather a green veined white was flitting about in the shelter of a hedge, feeding on cuckoo flowers. Small heath and common blues were also on the wing for short periods, looking very soggy in the drizzle. A burnet companion was also seen but it was companionless as there were no six-spot burnets seen.

Common blue - female with wings closed

Common Blue - female with wings open

Common Blue - male with faded underside markings
Small Heath
Burnet Companion

The object of my trip was found within a few minutes of arriving at the Meadow, bee orchids, with a group of 4 plants found amongst the grass. A further group of 4 plants and then 2 plants were later found in the area where I had seen the early purple orchids earlier in the year. I was surprised at how small they were, I had expected them to be larger, and they were surprisingly easy to overlook amongst the grass and flowers. They were very pretty though and are named bee orchids as they mimic the rear end of a small bumblebee visiting the flower. I also found what I think are southern marsh orchids in flower, they were odourless unlike the early purple orchids with their distinctive tom-cat smell, and their leaves were unspotted.

Bee Orchid - with my thumb for scale

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid

Bee Orchid
Southern Marsh Orchid ?

I only spent an hour wandering around the Meadow and I left for home with very wet trousers and soaked shoes and feet but it had been a very enjoyable way to spend an hour in the drizzle.

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