18 June 2019

A trip to RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands, in search of spoonbills, cattle egrets, and bearded tits, none of which deigned to show their faces. I did, however, see lots of avocets and godwits, a couple of Cetty’s warblers, and a greenshank, along with hundreds of black-headed gulls.

I took a walk up to the Iron Age hillfort at Burton Point to take in the magnificent view across the marshes to Wales. The scene will have been very different for the people who built the fort, long before the River Dee was diverted to the Welsh side of the estuary, and the marshes began to form.

Moel Famau and the Dee Marshes from Burton Point

Before leaving, I decided to pay a quick visit to the Bunker Hide. On my way there, an unexpected thrill: my first ever bee orchids.

I’ve just bought Darwin’s snappily entitled On the Various Contrivances by which British and Foreign Orchids are Fertilised by Insects, and on the Good Effects on Intercrossing (1862). I was thinking of maybe including a short section about orchids in the ‘Darwin book’ I’m currently working on. I’ll take my first bee orchids as a sign that maybe I indeed should.

Bee orchid
Bee orchid

Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. He is currently working on a book about looking at the world through Darwin’s eyes.Website · Newsletter · Mastodon · Facebook

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