Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Orchids in Touraine

Round headed Ranpion, Phytenma , with a male thick legged flower beetle, Oedemera hobilis. Though very beautiful, this is not an orchid.
We were lucky to spend an afternoon with Susan from Days on the Claise blog, who was kind enough to include us.  www.daysontheclaise.blogspot.fr  Susan spends one afternoon a month counting butterflies for the Natural History Museum in Paris.  She has 5 different sections to walk over, keeping track of what flies by.  We found it very interesting.  The count has been down this year, partly to the cold and rain, and partly to last years being down too.  Butterflies are a bit like bees, if they are thriving, nature is thriving.

A hummingbird  hawk moth, Marroglossum stellatarum, enjoying the fragrant orchid, Cymnadema canopsea,.  Can you see his tongue?

The blooms are so delicate.
Susan also shared her knowledge of the local plants, including orchids.  Orchids like limestone ridges, so that is where we walked.  Susan was also kind enough to identify our pictures, because we couldn't remember all the information.   If you look at flowers, you will always find insects, they go together.

Starting to open.

Opened to the top.

The last place we stopped to look for orchids was a wonderful surprise.  There were two species blooming and a Hummingbird Hawk Moth enjoying one of them.  This was not our first encounter with a Hummingbird Hawk Moth; we had met them in the Lot many years ago with our son, John.  At first they fooled us into thinking they were birds, until one landed on John's hand!  They are adept at pollinating orchids.

Spiders like orchids, too.

A beautiful cluster of  red helleborine orchids, Cephalanthera rubin.

We ended our afternoon on Susan's shady patio sharing a drink with her and Simon.  A very enjoyable afternoon in sunny Touraine.
Dragon Fly sitting for a portrait.  

Susan in her element.
Thank you Susan!  Perhaps you can visit Arizona one day and let us show you around!

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