Flora & Fauna

Orchids have a strange effect on me

Well that's my excuse for skulking beside a road last week!

A few days ago I was delighted to discover I am getting better at finding and identifying orchids out in the field. In 2016 I was struggling to see them let alone identify, and last year I was very confused by the hybrids. This year however not only was I spotting them relatively quickly I even managed to identify quite a few straight off. All sounds rather marvellous, unless you had been watching me. Then you would have probably been very amused as I headed off down slippery banks and skulked beside country roads. What about the views most walkers would have cried! I simply didn’t care though as I had been struck down by ‘orchidelirium‘!

It became evident I had caught this Victorian condition again when we were at one of our favourite birding spots – Ludo. We had only just started out when I spotted Bee Orchids at my feet, and moments later I found gorgeous Green-Winged Orchids and Mirror Orchids. I’ve completely forgotten what birds we saw that day!

The following afternoon I simply had to go out again to find more. We headed this time into the barrocal, an area where traditional farming practices can still be seen and it is possible to enjoy strolls along tracks which have not changed for decades if not centuries. There was one track in particular I had in mind as it is here every year I discover at least 5 species of orchids. We were not the only tourists there on Friday as it is on a popular walking guide trail, however not one of the four couples we saw striding noticed the hidden beauty at their feet.

Now whilst I appreciate the orchids hidden in the grasses are not easy to spot, I do find it strange that they didn’t notice those at knee level. Some of them were just flaunting themselves in the sunshine. And who can blame them they are gorgeous.

After a short distraction watching a Woodchat Shrike and Red Rumped Swallows I was off again on my hunt. I knew that somewhere there would be Serapias, and I was determined to find at least one before we returned to the car. My efforts were to be awarded at the side of a road. I am confident they are both Tongue Orchids, but I have no idea if they are Serapias lingua, Serapis strictiflora or Serapias parviflora. My best guess is lingua but would welcome an expert view.

We didn’t have time to return to the section of the walk where I have seen broad-leaved helleborines nor the field where heart-flowered orchids can be found. But I know they are there, and so I’ll be back next year when I hope I will be overcome by orchidelirium once more. It is after all a rather wonderful condition to have.

33 comments on “Orchids have a strange effect on me

  1. Wow, this is so impressive. I never had chance to see wild Orchids.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love orchids, but my eye is not as good as yours. In fact, the two I have are struggling. Great photos of such pretty flowers!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Oh I’ve been there, the land of orchidelirium, but I’ve never found them in quite such profusion in any one patch of my Australian bush.once when I was prone photographing by the road, a neighbour stopped to ask not what have you found (a greenhoodj but what have you lost! You’ve offered yet another Portuguese incentive. I hesitate to offer a link, but I presume you can delete it. It recounts my orchid-spotting close to home.

    https://open.abc.net.au/explore/7501

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh wow that one is gorgeous. Thank you so much for sharing. And you are so right about the attunement.

      It is quite incredible in Portugal when they are all in flower but timing and location is everything. Such fun though going out for the prowl. Hope your neighbour joined in the fun once you explained!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Fantastic that you found so many. 🙂 🙂 Once you spot one, that’s it, and you can’t take your eyes from ground level till you find the next, and the next… They’re amazing.

    Liked by 2 people

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