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Cloves and Billy Goats

If I tell you I sniffed two flowers on Monday evening, one that smelt of billy goats and one that smelt deliciously of cloves, where in Britain was I?

These are the aromas of Lizard Orchid and Bedstraw (or Clove-scented) Broomrape and I was on the fabulous calcareous dune grasslands at Sandwich Bay. Both species were abundant though most of the broomrapes have gone over by now.

Lizard Orchid. They are certainly malodorous but I've never actually sniffed a billy goat to find out whether they smell of Lizard Orchids.

Bedstraw Broomrape. A tick for me, all the better as I wasn't expecting to see any still in flower.

Yes, those are actual Lizard Orchids growing in the lawn!

I can hardly believe that I have only been to Sandwich Bay three times before, and two of those were just to twitch birds (the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, and an American Golden Plover that BBRC rejected). It’s such an impressive site and I am keen to spend more time there.

I have much more to tell from the last two days in Kent, and with a lot of rainy days ahead and fieldwork postponed I may have time to blog about this and other recent trips.

And just in case there’s anyone left that I haven’t told the story to, my only beetling trip to Sandwich Bay on 12th June 1999 was superb for beetles but I will always remember the magic moment when I heard a ‘prrp, prrp’ from above, chucked down my trowel, ripped my binoculars out of my rucksack and looked up to see a Bee-eater circling overhead!


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