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Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A Day at the Races?



On Sunday, I drove across the county to Newmarket on the western edge of Suffolk by the edge of the Racecourse, to visit the Devil's Dyke nature reserve in the hope of seeing and photographing Lizard Orchids.
After a very pleasant walk, where I noted Pyramidial Orchids just starting to come into flower and singing birds including Blackcap and Lesser Whitethroats giving their distinctive "scoulding" call. I eventually came across 1 Lizard Orchid which was slightly past its best, but then there were a further 4 plants in peak condition. I eventually counted an incredible 79 Lizard Orchids. 
The Lizard Orchid is so named because the long central lobe of the lip resembles the back end and tail of a Lizard and the shorter side lobes also resemble the hind legs of a Lizard giving a very unusual and unique looking flower.
The flowers also have a strong slightly unpleasant smell, which some authors claims smell of billy goats, I couldn't comment on this as I haven't gone round sniffing goats!! 
The tall spikes can grow up to around a foot and a half tall (almost a metre in height) and one particularly tall plant really did stink in the warm sunshine.
This odour was a smell worth enduring as I got to work setting up my camera and tripod to get the range of pictures I wanted. 

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