Orchid no. 2 (2019) and orchid no. 1 (2018)
I noticed yesterday that an Early Purple Orchid had appeared in the marginals in our garden pond, and photographed it. Then I remembered that it had appeared in exactly the same place as one had last year – good news – it’s become a resident orchid!
I looked back at my post at this time of year 2018, and found I’d photographed and posted the first orchid on June 4th. Well, it’s 31st May 2019 and the second orchid, newly flowered, looks larger and healthier than the first.
Not just that – there’s another small one appearing nearby too.
In the UK, birders would travel miles – maybe to Rutland Water in the Midlands or maybe to Aviemore in Scotland – to see ospreys, amazingly powerful and graceful birds who fish from lakes, catching large fish in their powerful talons.
In Houston, Texas, it’s not unusual or remarkable at all to find an osprey flying low over a local reservoir which is part of a country park. This one was out in broad daylight, flying overhead and calling as it clutched its large catch. All this against the distant backdrop and roar of a busy tollway.
We watched it – no binoculars were needed as it was so close – as it sought and found a perch on a nearby telegraph pole and proceeded to tuck into it with that powerful beak.
What a treat for the eyes to see it. The photo’s not perfect as it was taken against the light, but it conveys the size of both bird and fish.
Sitting in a cafe recently, virtuously sharing a large scone with jam and cream with my other half, we fell into conversation with a nearby couple over which should be spread on the scone first – jam or cream?
If it’s cream first and then jam, it’s the “official” Devon way; it it’s jam topped by cream, that’s the way it’s done in Cornwall.
The photo was taken in Devon, and it looks like we got it right with jam on cream. But now I’m not sure which way I usually prepare my scone prior to sinking my fangs into it – I just do it.
I think it’s the Cornish way, but in the spirit of research and accuracy, I really think I need to test this out for myself sometime in the near future!
Reading Patrick Barkham’s book The Butterfly Isles I was transported back to south London, where I grew up. I’d reached the chapter on urban butterflies where he describes Coldharbour Lane and the bus station at Camberwell Green. Immediately I was once again 9 years old, with my mum, sitting on the top deck of a red London bus on my way to my dancing class at Kennington Oval.
The bus route took us past a huge colourful mosaic of a Camberwell Beauty butterfly, set high up on the front of the Samuel Jones & Co factory, which produced gummed paper shapes. I was fascinated by this butterfly, ever after wanting to see one. I never managed to do so in the UK. They are very rare visitors and I had to wait until 1982 before I saw several for real in Sweden. That was memorable – I still recall how I couldn’t quite believe my eyes!
The Camberwell Beauty has stayed with me as being rather special. My mum bought me a gummed paper shape puzzle of this butterfly with a cardboard shape to base the pieces on. I still have it. It’s a childhood memento that I wouldn’t part with.
What I was interested to discover from Barkham’s book is that Coldharbour Lane ( not an especially nice place these days), was once known as Cool Arbour Lane, where there were green meadows and willow trees, a rural habitat suitable for this butterfly and its caterpillars.