Orchids and Moths

Last weekend I made  couple of visits to Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve to see what was about.

02 Ainsdale Sandhills Local Nature Reserve01 Ainsdale Dunes

I saw four different species of Orchid.

There were plenty of Marsh Orchids and Pyramidal Orchids.

02 Early Marsh Orchid01 Early Marsh Orchid

02 Pyramidal Orchid01 Pyramidal Orchid

One of my favourites was the Early Marsh Orchid, Dactylorhiza incarnata.

04w Early Marsh Orchid03w Early Marsh orchid

I think that these examples may be the subspecies Dactylorhiza incarnata coccinea which has more brick red flowers.

However the species that I was most pleased to find was the Bee Orchid, Ophrys apifera.

02w Bee Orchid01w Bee Orchid

The flower has three lobes and the lower one is said to resemble a bee. This is supposed to be an aid to pollination by acting as a decoy to fool the male bee. In addition to its appearance the  plant attracts the insect by producing a scent that mimics the scent of the female bee.

The plant produces a flower spike that is composed of one to twelve flowers although only two or three open at a time.

I managed to get some close up pictures and was amazed when I saw them on the screen. The lower petal does resemble a bee, but a bee lying back and having a laugh.

07w Bee Orchid06w Bee Orchid



My first visit was on Friday 13th June and I was fortunate to see the White Satin Moth, Leucoma salicis.

06 White Satin Moth

These moths are relatively uncommon  but at Ainsdale they emerge in their thousands on just a couple of days each year. They were flying all around me but would not settle and I had to be patient to get some decent images. The moths are pure white and the satin appearance of their wings give them their name. The females were larger than the males who had only one thing on their mind, the urge to mate.

02 White Satin moth01 White Satin moth

04 White Satin moth05. White Satin moth


08w White Satin Moth

 I went back again three days later and there was not a moth in sight.


About crosbyman66

My aim is to create a photo diary of my walks and my travels. I have two main hobbies, walking and photography and these complement each other. I am a senior citizen, what used to be called an old age pensioner, but I don't feel old. Since retirement I have had more time to pursue my hobbies and the opportunity to travel more. My philosophy now is - Do what you can, while you can. My other interests are fine wines and keeping fit. These may not complement each other but keep me happy.
This entry was posted in Ainsdale Local Nature Reserve, Macro, Moths, Natural History, Photography, Sefton Coastline, Wild Flowers. Bookmark the permalink.

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