As dawn broke and James’ body returned to a working temperature we began the day. I did my morning ablutions, which when staying in a car consists of spraying oneself with an unhealthy amount of deodorant and hoping no one looks at you for the rest of the day. I may have been putrefying. I think at one point my sweat glands were hissing like overworked kettles.

I’m not sure how long we spent wandering around the reserve waiting for reptiles to appear but at some they did and we looked at them, including a very confiding sand lizard.

Sand Lizard - Dorset

This broad-bodied chaser was also understanding of our plight.

Broad-Bodied Chaser - Dorset

After throwing in another smooth snake, common lizard, grass snake, sika deer and downy emerald we made for Wareham Forest.

Sika Deer - Dorset
With some basic maps and directions we stumbled down a forest path to find, what I believe, is our first introduced plant twitch, if you can call it that. I’m not entirely sure on the history of pitcher plants at the site but there were several “colonies” over a small area and they seemed to be in rather rude health.
Introduced Pitcher Plant Colony - Dorset

After our shortest stay at a site we quickly hightailed it, briefly passing through a cloud of pure evil which burnt off my nostril hairs and a healthy amount of skin.

Cerne abbas is best known for having a large fella waving his bits and pieces around. Pagans are into it but pagans are into all sorts of shit. I saw some praying at a pond with a burst lining the other day. The best thing about Cerne Abbas, much more so than chalk penises, are the butterflies. It hosts Duke of Burgundy, marsh fritillary, adonis blue and grizzled skipper. The last one was completely new for us, causing much glee and giddiness.

Grizzled skipper - Dorset

Several stands of early purple orchid began a trend for the day.
Early Purple Orchid - Cerne Abbas

After chatting to a few photographers, seeing a new moth in form of Pyrausta nigricans and some beautiful demoiselles by a nearby stream we made haste and after some debate a new location was plugged into the sat nav. Besides an unassuming section of motorway in Somerset James showed me some rather unusual orchids.

Bee x Fly Orchid - Somerset
 

Bee x Fly Orchid - Somerset

We drove by stonehenge. I bet there were pagans there, trying to work out what date it is.

Then we looked for dragonflies. We didn’t see them. Not much point mentioning it in this blog. If I start listing things which didn’t happen this post would take even longer. Although I can see these following things didn’t happen:
– I fell over on some railway tracks and a bolt hits my mouth, driving a tooth free in a flash of screams and spraying blood
– Whilst climbing up a steep chalk-lined hill my foot slips into a rabbit hole, snapping my femur. I also stand in a nest of baby rabbits.
– I find a plastic bag filled with £20 notes. There is only a bit of blood on them.

Luckily the site without any dragonflies was close to a site with orchids. 2 orchids in fact. 2 orchids which we hadn’t seen before and their hybrids.

Monkey Orchid

Lady x Monkey orchid

Lady Orchid

We admired their glory, toyed with a rhinoceros beetle or two then it was time for me to head home. We had 3 hours to make an hour and a half journey and catch my train home. Brilliant. Enough spare time to watch the first half of 2 movies. Unfortunately, due to diversions and selfish, horrifying traffic accidents, it took 3 hours and 1 minute to get to Bedfordshire. Very luckily the train was 2 minutes late, so after much hand-wringing and swearing at law-abiding drivers I got onto to the train with 60 seconds to spare, smelling like a bag of hospital waste topped off with cat piss.

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