With the forecast of a fairly decent day in the south, Colin and I went down to Kent with the expectations of getting a few Orchids and maybe some butterflies too.
Heading down the M25, we decided to detour to Chafford Gorge before crossing the river. Colin had been there last year and had just missed Man Orchids-we have been visiting Barnack the national stronghold in recent years without success.
Heading into the old quarry it did not take long to pick up a few flowering spikes, along with a few Twayblades. Further on down the track, behind a birch copse we found well over a hundred Man orchids in full bloom.
Crossed the Thames and headed off down the M2. Surprised to see a Mediterranean Gull fly over, but we were near the coast so maybe not unexpecetd these days.
Yockletts Bank seemed to be a bit disappointing. The clearing we visited last year only held two Lady Orchid among the many Tawyblades, and a couple of Fly Orchids. No sign of any White Helleborine until I found one or two eaten stems and another not even in bud.
We had better luck in a different part that we had not been to before-two separate Lady colonies, a few Common Spotted just starting to develop and some Early Purple orchids. Met someone who mentioned that Herb Paris could be found, but try as I might I could not find any.
Finally we called in at park Gate Down. Only four Monkey Orchids were found-does not look all that good this year, but the Early Purples looked good among the Cowslips.