In my last post I told of my discovering (and eating) wild strawberries on a walk in the woods. Well, they were not the only thing that caught my eye. My walk was one I regularly take (frequently take in the mushroom season), it leads up across the fields and into the woods, where it loops and even does a figure of eight if the mood takes me through a mixture of coniferous and some deciduous trees, past an old and now overgrown quarry together with pool, down to the road to Kvetusin and Olsina.
June is a lovely time for wildflower lovers in the Czech Republic; the sun has not parched the soil and turned the foliage brown. The field was full of meadow flowers – clover, buttercups, ox-eye daisies, speedwell, ragged robin, harebell to name but a few – and they hummed with bees and small beetles with bright, metallic-coloured coats. As I walked, clouds of butterflies billowed before me. I identified painted ladies, various fritilaries and small blues.
On entering the woods my eyes were drawn to two orchids – a lesser butterfly orchid and another barely open on a slender stem with spotted leaves. Under the eaves of a dense conifer plantation I spotted what I hope will be a hellabore close to opening. I will be returning with my flower book in a week's time to check. Here too were hosts of butterflies, woodland ones my English eyes are not used to recognizing. However mental notes were made and I can now report that at least one was a banded grayling and another a brown hairstreak.
On the wood's edge I passed this plant, at first I took it for the common (in the Czech Republic) wood ragwort, but on looking closer I realised I was mistaken. I looked it up in my book, but am still unable to identify it. I wondered whether I had found the rarer arnica montana, which can occasionally in the woods round here, but the leaves look wrong. Ideas welcome. But nevertheless what a climax to a lovely walk! Maybe some day these Czech flowers and butterflies will no longer fill me with such delight. I only pray that that day never comes.