I love exploring different wild locations and I find that just as every season brings different natural delights, so these pockets of wilderness have a varying character throughout the year. The local wood is at its most vibrant in April when the bluebells are in full bloom, and the meadow next door takes on its own carpet of colour a few weeks later when the cowslips, cuckoo flower and green winged orchids are at their finest. By contrast, the small patch of marsh just down the road is at its best now in my opinion. There are all sorts of lovely species which call it home throughout the year, but the summer months see a series of colours adorn the anthills and a wonderful buzz in the air. Essentially it is little more than a small field, albeit rather boggy at one end. The abundance of species in this small area is quite astounding though, and considering it’s right next to a train line it is a surprisingly peaceful spot. There is little I enjoy more than a quiet wander through the wildflowers taking in the small wonders around me. I thought that I would share some of the miniature miracles I have found there with you.
I had already found my favourite flower there, the Bee Orchid, blooming as beautifully as ever among the meadow grasses and somehow always tricky to spot despite its lovely colouring. The next thing which drew my attention was a smaller flower still, the delicate bloom of Fairy Flax, plentiful yet unobtrusive among the brighter buttercups.
It wasn’t long before I spotted another type of orchid, the Greater Twayblade. This flower spike had an ant exploring each flower. There was still dew underfoot so I’m not sure whether it was drinking moisture or looking for nectar.
I have already mentioned that I like looking for the small things and finding beauty in the minute details. There are few flowers smaller than those of Cleavers (also know to many as Goose Grass or Sticky Weed). The tiny hooks on the seed capsules that allow it to be dispersed by wildlife and humans alike are barely shorter than the petals on these tiny blossoms.
There were other splashes of colour too including patches of Speedwell and sprawling Forget-Me-Nots which seemed to favour the anthills.
Most of the meadow was a wonderful shade of yellow which shone in the sunshine. Buttercups were the main contributor and this one had a visitor in the shape of a Marmalade Hoverfly.
There was a wonderful carpet of Yellow Rattle too which added to the golden glow. There were Common Blue butterflies flitting around but never stopping to settle. A male Orange Tip flew past at high speed but it was a Small White that finally gave me a photo opportunity.
While I was crouched to take photos of the butterfly I spotted a Thick Legged Flower Beetle and was just preparing to take a picture when it decided it wasn’t in the mood and flew off. Sadly for me this sort of thing happens all too often but my disappointment was very short lived as I immediately spotted this pair that were in a bit of a predicament!
Hopefully they managed to sort themselves out eventually but I didn’t get the chance to stick around long enough to find out!
I hope you’ve enjoyed my brief tour of a favourite spot, perhaps you will notice some of the smaller details next time you’re out and marvel at the miniature miracles of nature which we normally walk right past.