I hadn’t intended to go out. I would be out later, I didn’t have a great deal of time. But the sun shone. And there’s so much to see.
I had some definite objectives in mind, but naturally there are incidental pleasures to be had too. Like the spectacular guelder rose flowers by the entrance to Gait Barrows. Whilst I took the photo, I could hear a bird in a tree above me giving voice to a full-throated whistle. It wasn’t a song I knew, but when I looked I could clearly see the bird in question. Before I could get a photo it had moved to a more distant tree and a higher branch, but then it sat and sang it’s heart out.
It was against the light so the pictures I took aren’t particularly satisfactory but I think they confirm my suspicion that it was a blackcap. Warblers seem to be the birds of the moment.
The song was really quite impressive. You can hear a short sample on the RSPB website. Where we’re told that:
Its delightful fluting song has earned it the name ‘northern nightingale’
Which I rather like.
My friend Z wondered whether she would be able to remember where to find the lady’s-slipper orchids which were planted at Gait Barrows last year. She needn’t have wondered, English Nature have put up signs to lead the way to them. The single flower which I have visited every summer for years is in a very shady spot and, I always think, being solitary, is slightly sad. To see massed flowers waving in the wind and full sunshine was fabulous.
I suspect that you would have to see them soon if you wanted to catch them this year.
The other reason I wanted to visit Gait Barrows was because last year, right by where the orchids have been planted, I saw some lily-of-the-valley, but only a few flowers. This time there was a large area of healthy looking spears of leaves…
But again, very few flowers…
Could I be too late?
The next day, in Eaves Wood, towards the end of a longer walk, one of the (many) people I was walking with pointed out another large patch of lily-of-the-valley and said ‘In a couple of weeks they will be beautiful.’ I thought ‘Ah, in a couple of weeks. Good.’ And then I thought: ‘ I knew that they were there. How have I managed to forget that?’
By not recording it here.