For illustrated talks on natural history and history see

For illustrated talks on natural history and history click here for

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Burnt Orchids, Orchis ustulata and Early Spider-orchids on the South Downs of East Sussex yesterday with François Piolino.

 Just thirteen flowers Burnt Orchids were seen yesterday afternoon on the South Downs of East Sussex.  And some of those were tiny specimens.  Last year at this time I found none here: the grass was quite high and under-grazed.
 Internationally famous tenor, François Piolino above had the day off from rehearsing at Glyndebourne Opera House and we spent the day successfully photographing rare orchids. (see )

 François, a Swiss national is making his fourth appearance at Glyndebourne in Richard Strauss  Ariadne auf Naxos

"I love being at Glydebourne" says François, "and the opportunity to walk the Downs and see rare orchids and butterflies adds to the joy of being in Sussex at this time of year."

We then walked from Kingston steeply up and over the crest of the Downs to Castle hill, where  François was delighted to see tiny Early Spider-orchids -- the first time he had seen these in Sussex.

Early Spider-orchid, Ophyrs sphegodes

Above Early Spider-orchid, Ophyrs sphegodes is flowering amongst hundreds of Fragrant Orchids.
Other orchids that we saw were Common Twayblade and Common Spotted-orchids.
A wonderful range of butterflies were seen too and will be in a separate blog entry.
In perfect weather, this was truly a day to remember.
Click on any picture to expand it.

Next month, there is a rare opportunity, organised by The National Trust for an illustrated talk, followed by a walk on Newtimber Hill from the The National Trust learning centre at Saddlescombe Farm on June 20th, 2017.
Details of the event, which must be booked in advance are at
A summary of the talk can bee seen at

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