Kent the Garden of England, is supposed to be one of the best places to see wild Orchids in this country, that is if you know where to look, and I must admit I do not.
I do know that we are fast approaching the optimum time to observe them, early May to late June, so I thought I would make the effort to try and find some.
Denge wood near Canterbury was going to be my first visit, an ancient wood looked after in parts by the Woodland Trust, and a place I have never visited before.
The plan was to reconnoitre the area and try and locate an area called the Bonsai Bank within the woodland.
I was not really expecting to see much, just familiarise myself for a visit later in the month.
Eventually I stumbled across the area I was looking for, although more by accident I think.
The Bonsai Bank so called because there are a number of stunted conifers growing in the area, opened up before me.
And there were my first Orchids at least nine or ten 'Early Purple Orchids' quite easy to pick out, but a little past their best.
The photograph above is the complete flower spike, the one below a close up of the individual flowers, nine to twelve inches tall,the leaves have large dark spots on them.
The reference book states that these begin to flower as early as April and are one of the earliest flowering Orchids.
In all, at this time there were probably about twenty or so flower spikes on show, this was the first week in May.
I had a good look around this area, just concentrating on the Bonsai Bank, the only other Orchid I could find was this 'Lady Orchid' just beginning to flower.
Here on the Bonsai bank a small butterfly caught my eye, a very small delicate butterfly about the same size as the small blue butterflies you commonly see.
It was the "Duke", the Duke of Burgundy to be precise, I don't know why, but I was expecting something larger.
Probably one of the rarest butterflies I have seen, quite approachable as it flitted about in the grass.
but only one was seen at this time.
Another first for me, was this Dingy Skipper, again quite
small , probably about the same size as the Duke.
There was a good variety of Butterflies on show, Orange Tip, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, Brimstone, Green Veined White.
Plenty of other insects on show, finally caught up with the Carder Bee, looks very familiar, I'm sure I have seen this before, just not recognised as a Carder Bee
While watching the Carder bees this small insect caught my attention, a Common Snout Hoverfly.
As I tried to find my way back to where I had parked my car, saw lots of Bee Flies feeding on the 'Bugle'
Not so many birds, to be honest my eyes were focused down, searching for Orchids, I did hear a couple of Turtle Doves purring away in the trees though.
Very enjoyable trip well worth a look, if you are unfamiliar with the woods like me, take a map or photo of the information board.