A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

A tale of nature, wildlife and birding from Cheshire, North Wales and across the globe....

Monday, 26 June 2017

Man Orchids at Copper Hill, Lincolnshire!

Man Orchids are one of my favourite species of British orchid, and having last seen them flowering nearly ten years ago, I thought it was time I made a trip back to take another look and get some improved photos of these fantastic plants.
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
With Man Orchids enjoying a decidedly southerly bias in terms of distribution in Britain, I returned to the same site I visited in 2009 to see them – the botanically rich roadside verges of the Copper Hill reserve in Lincolnshire and the most northerly site in Britain where Man Orchid occurs. 
Copper Hill - Lincolnshire
The Copper Hill roadside verge
Situated just outside Ancaster, the roadside verges that fall under the reserve’s boundary are protected under Lincolnshire’s Protected Roadside Verge Scheme, and as such a particularly rich and diverse mixture of limestone flora is allowed to thrive, including the endangered in Britain Man Orchid.
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Benefitting from an escape from the vastly overused council lawnmowers, the Man Orchids, along with a whole smorgasbord of other wildflowers, seem to be doing exceptionally well here, and we counted at least 34 spikes of these unusual orchids along the short stretch of the eastern verge (although the Wildlife Trust volunteers counted an exceptional 50 spikes a few days earlier!). 
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchids are one of the most fascinating species of orchid in Britain (along with the rest of the often-extravagantly decorated Orchis genus) and a closer inspection of the flower spike reveals a column of delicate banana coloured human shaped flowers washed with a delightful rich red and bronze hue, each one impressively mimicking a tiny little man. 
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Apparently the flowers also give off the scent of fried onions, although I didn’t sniff them to confirm whether or not this is just a rumour! 
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchids are one of the taller species of orchid in Britain, often growing to around 30cm high
With our native wildflowers in decline over here in the UK, it would certainly be good practice to allow all of our roadside verges to flourish like is the case at Copper Hill, instead of the current trend for our councils to be obsessed with neat and tidy short-mown grass, completely bare and devoid of any floral character at all. 
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchid in situ!
Copper Hill Reserve - Lincolnshire
The tank the Man Orchids are next to
Man Orchid - Copper Hill, Lincolnshire
Man Orchids in situ!
Copper Hill Reserve - Lincolnshire
Parking at Copper Hill reserve is off King Street (NG32 3PY), and the end of May/beginning of June is the best time to visit.

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