Friday, 3 May 2013

Walking amongst the orchids

We had dropped our group of walkers back at the airport, and we're relaxing
at Finca Montana for a well earned rest. Needless to say, I find sitting around doing not very much quite difficult, so we decided to have an afternoon walk. There are lots of options, and that day we opted for heading down the mountain towards Pedro Calvo, our favourite spring, and source of our drinking water.

 The route took us towards the bottom of our land, where I had spotted a couple of what I thought might be Bee Orchids a few days earlier. I was really pleased to find 2 new plants pushing their way amongst the scrub and heather on the edge of our plot. Continuing downhill, we joined the mountain track and soon spotted a pink fringed Orchid. I had been in raptures over these lovely plants, which we had first discovered a year earlier, when I walked over a flower filled terrace with a group of walkers the previous week.

As we approached Pedro Calvo, I spotted a yellow flower amongst the trees; keeping our eyes open, we realised that these slender orchids were everywhere! Not nearly as majestic as their Pink fringed cousins, but pretty non the less, and very different to those I had seen previously.

 Our walk then contoured round the mountainside at around 1000m. We had great views over Beznar reservoir, but I was now hooked on Orchid spotting, and was not to be disappointed!

Leaving the track we headed over stony ground to a rocky col, amongst the trees beyond we found the ground again covered in pretty delicate pink and which orchids, our fourth species of the afternoon. Our route took us back uphill, taking a couple of shortcuts to cut off the long bends of the mountain track, where we found more pink fringed orchids, and the remnants of a giant specimen, which I later thought to be a giant helleborine, and close by small spider orchid?

The final icing on the "orchid spotting cake" was back on our own land; we had our own small clump of pink fringed orchids (definitely my favourites) and along our barranco (the stream which runs at the side of our plot), were 8 white orchids, which I thought to be sword leaved helleborine.

Orchids were not the only flowers we saw; of particular note was the Rock Rose parasite Cytinus Hypocistis and purple poppies; the warm weather of the previous week had worked its magic, and brought out some lovely flowers, which made our spring walks particularly enjoyable - it really is a lovely time of the year.