Now we’re talking

Yesterday was a total washout, it was pouring rain all day but I did actually go out with the camera. The film camera, that is – I had some frames left in the roll of Velvia, and the new greens were looking very lovely in the rain as the colours are always saturated under those conditions. Velvia + naturally saturated greens, will be interesting to see how the slides look like!

Lady slipper buds
Lady slipper buds

Today however, the rain was long gone. I needed to see what was happening with the lady slippers, but this year I will give the #1 lady slipper location a pass because I don’t want to wear out the delicate ground around the flowers. The place will be visited by a lot of people anyway because it’s probably the most famous lady slipper location around here, but the sad truth is that a photographer who sets down in one spot will wear out the ground more than a few people just walking through. I doesn’t matter how successful I am in avoiding any damage to the flowers, but the ground always ends up worse off for the deal. So that said, I drove to a location that I haven’t photographed at all yet. This new location is a host for lesser butterfly orchids as well and maybe some heath spotted orchids will show up later, but I haven’t seen other orchids here (unlike the #1 location where you can find five species).

The lesser butterfly orchids will bloom later than the lady slippers, so all I found was a few buds in roughly the same stage of development as the ones I have close to home. And then these lady slippers… I found them a bit strange. There were three flowers in what looked almost like over bloom, but they were somehow looking the wrong shape and size, a bit wrinkled even. And then there were about 15-20 buds in different stages of development, and a bunch of leaves only 10 cm high. It’s easy to spot the flowers and avoid stepping on them, but those small leaves had me moving around very carefully indeed so I wouldn’t trample them. Except that something had already been there and trampled on some of the plants, I doubt very much a human would’ve done it (I’m probably the first human here this year anyway) but I couldn’t quite figure out what animal it had been either. I will go back there next week of course, there should be many more lady slippers in bloom by then.

Early marsh orchid ssp. cruenta
Early marsh orchid ssp. cruenta

Happy with my discoveries so far (despite the wrinkly and trampled plants), I wanted to see if the early marsh orchids ssp. cruenta would show any buds yet. This is the other one of the two orchids that grows around Loos that I haven’t actually photographed here so I want to get those pictures this summer. I know it’s the same species regardless of where it’s photographed, but still, gotta get ’em. Imagine how happy I was when I found one individual that was already in bloom!

Early coralroot
Early coralroot

The road to this location is in a poor condition so I parked my car when it still was good and walked the rest. On the way, I found a treat – early coralroot. It was totally unexpected, the early coralroot is not a rare orchid as such but it is very scattered so there’s no specific location for them like there is for most other orchids. They were too small though, but I was making plans to come back when I came across another early coralroot, and this one was already in bloom. Those two orchids I mentioned that I haven’t photographed around Loos yet… you know what the second one was? Early coralroot! I never thought I could get them both on the same day, especially when I didn’t even expect them to be flowering yet.

I’m happy. My Loos orchid collection is thus complete, now I just need to improve on them!

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