Thursday, 4 October 2012

Getting closer to nature...Bee orchids

Back in June George our Academy ranger, Stuart our regional wildlife adviser and myself surveyed plants on a meadow we own in Blakeney village and were amazed by a large patch of bee orchids. Our guess was there were more than 1000 flowering spikes. We were so impressed that we got the rest of the team down to see them.

As the orchids were close to the National Trail we decided to cut a path to them and sign it to let passers-by know there was a bee orchid bonanza nearby. We also included a message about taking nothing but photographs and watching where you step.

George and seasonal ranger Chris did some sampling and extrapolations highlighted there were more than 4000 spikes!

Once the bee orchids had set seed we cut the area with our tractor with the aim to rake the vegetation off to prevent nutrients from entering the soil favouring weeds.

In September we hosted a large group of volunteers from Norwich & Norfolk University Hospital and Serco Consulting, organised by Garry Shaves from Coaching and Management Solutions. Here they all are raking the material off, with twenty three pairs of hands making light work. Thanks to everyone for helping us.
All photos taken by warden Graham Lubbock 

This year many people have reported seeing more bee orchids than usual, who knows if they will be there in such numbers next year?

Countryside Manager

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