It being May, the orchids are back and this year there seems to be an abundance of them. Perhaps this year’s unusually wet spring in the Gers favoured them.

In previous years we have counted between 12 and 15 different species of orchid either on our land or very close by. So far, the count is perhaps 9 and the late-flowering ones are yet to show themselves. What is different this year is their abundance and duration. They are everywhere and a stroll outside requires special attention not to tread on them.

Bee orchid, detail

Our valley is classed as part of a ZNIEFF, a Zone Naturelle d’Intérêt Ecologique Faunistique et Floristique, so there are various fields reserved as set-aside which are merely cut mid-summer, but otherwise left untouched by commercial agricultural practice. No doubt this favours orchids, wild flowers and a host of insects and dependant species.

The INPN website has a decent inventory of wildlife species, orchids included, and is worth a visit. Intriguingly, some of the orchids found around us are not listed on their inventory for us. It’d be interesting to explore how these ‘missing’ varieties could be reported…

For the record, here’s what we have:

1/12 Bee orchid
Bee orchid
2/12 Bee orchid
Bee orchid
3/12 Bee orchid
Bee orchid
4/12 Bee orchid
Bee orchid
5/12 Possible frog orchid
Possible frog orchid
6/12 Heart-flowered serapia
Heart-flowered serapia
7/12 Lizard orchid
Lizard orchid
8/12 Possible military orchid
Possible military orchid
9/12 Possible monkey orchid
Possible monkey orchid
10/12 Possible monkey orchid
Possible monkey orchid
11/12 Possible purple orchid
Possible purple orchid
12/12 Possible pyramidal orchid
Possible pyramidal orchid