30 Days Wild – Day 22 – On old adages

The bible says “Seek and ye shall find” (Matthew 7:7). But there’s another old adage that if you want to find something, simply stop looking. So which is true? Let’s find out…After a couple of weeks of looking for Bee Orchids, I had finally given up. I’d sought and not found. It was time to stop looking. So I went out today on a different mission, and this is what I almost immediately found:

Ophrys apifera

Yes, finally, the Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera). Not the biggest specimen, none of the few in this bit of grassland were more than about 30cm tall (they can be twice that). In fact they were a little lost, which may have contributed to my not seeing them previously.

The little yellow dangling part is called a pollinium (plural pollinia) and is where the pollen is balled together. As Bee Orchids are largely self-pollinating, this steadily lowers down until it touches the stigma, and fertilises the plant. This allows seeds to develop which will then spread.

They are beautiful, and I’m delighted to have finally found them.

There is a little, mildly embarrassing, coda to this. I have walked all manner of bits of grassland looking for them, but where I eventually found them there was a sign next to the fence. The sign was asking people to keep off the grass, because there were orchids there! So an un-noticed corner was all along my holy grail this 30 Days Wild. All I had to do was stop looking.

As for ‘seek and ye shall find’, I was seeking orchids, but not today. Today I sought Pochard chicks, of which I saw none. But maybe it’s a case of finding what you need, not what you want?


I’ll be in Edinburgh for days 23-26, but the blogposts will be up when I return. Having reached the unbroken 22 days mark I am determined to tick off all 30 with no gaps and no summary posts.

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I welcome thoughts, comments and questions, so please feel free to share anything at all. Thanks, David

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