But all is not rosy on the bee orchid front.
On returning to check the seed heads recently, this is what I should have been seeing:
However, this was the only one I could find as all the others looked like this:
Something has systematically eaten every other seed head leaving a shrivelling stem.
It is easy to blame the cattle for such a deed as they have access to this area. There are no sheep on this Moor and not so many hares or rabbits in this area, even if they were unusually partial to a few seed heads. The only other culprit could be the deer!
It is easy to tell if cattle have been around as cow-pats would be everywhere but, unlike last year, these were few and far between. On the other hand there were occasional signs of deer droppings:
Why then did we have a good crop of bee orchids this year?
Last year this area had cattle in it for much of the time as you could hardly take a photograph without cow-pats dominating the scene! Could it be that they kept the deer away, or had the deer not discovered their existence at that time? Lots of presumptions here and it will be interesting to see how next year's flowers have withstood this attack. The plants are not annuals but some research is needed as to whether these plants need a bit of protection or will manage to survive on their own.