It's been a hectic week in the garden, the sun is shining and I decided to bunk off for the afternoon to try to see some butterflies at Noar Hill. Why do I feel the need to justify this? I fairly quickly spotted a couple of Small Blues and a few bright Common Blues, and a smattering of others - Orange Tip (male and female), Brimstone, Large White, Small Heath, Speckled Wood at the edge of the grassy area.
Perhaps more in evidence, were large numbers of orchids. I confess I was drawn more to the showy ones: this Pyramidal orchid offered a splash of intense colour.
The next two are probably both Purple Spotted Orchids, although there are differences in colour and patterning.
But the greatest thrill came from this, new to me, Fly Orchid. I fell to chatting with a fellow prospector who mentioned that he'd seen something that might have been a Bee Orchid and he very kindly showed me where it was. A bit of research at home quickly confirmed that this was indeed a Fly Orchid. They look a bit like small hummingbirds.
Then there was a late spurt of butterflies: a very pretty Grizzled Skipper and a few golden skippers, I could not tell whether Large or Small, and a couple of Small Tortoiseshells. But the highlight was a a greyish blue butterfly which suddenly popped up from a bush and then settled on a leaf:the blue form of a female Common Blue.
Conditions: hot and sunny
Distance: about 2 miles
Map: Explorer 133 (Haslemere and Petersfield)
Rating: four stars