The sparrowhawk likes our garden and some of you will be aware he had been a bit coy about showing his face. Today, HWIOO was awake rather early and as this photo demonstrates the early bird not only catches the worm but is more prepared to have his photograph taken. I think he may have been a bit optimistic as there are fewer and fewer birds feeding from the feeder due to the large number of insects providing food on the wing.
Then, when I got home from work we went purple orchid hunting. Note to self: if possible photograph flowers on a still day! And wear your glasses! I took mine off when I was fiddling with the lens and consequentially half my photographs came out rather badly blurred because I forgot to put them back on but let me assure you that they were perfectly focused when I viewed the images before snapping the shutter.
I have now established that it’s an early purple orchid (Orchis macula) that I’ve been crawling around on my hands and knees trying to photograph. Apparently these little flowers were used as ingredients for love potions during the seventeenth century and feature in Shakespeare’s Hamlet as part of Ophelia’s garland of flowers after she is found drowned. As well as having purple flowers there are purple blotches on the leaves. If you like your folklore this is because they grew at the foot of the Cross and are representative of the drops of Christ’s blood that fell on them. Apparently two of its common names are Cain and Able and Adam and Eve. Sue Clifford and Angela King in their book entitled Journeys Through England on Foot identify the orchid as “Granfer Griggles.”
Just for the record we also saw the mandatory dandelions, nettles, celandines, cowslips and the little blue flowers that I’ve always know as shirt buttons but which I think might be germander speedwell if I’ve matched them correctly with the image in my wild flower book.