The Photo of the Month (see gallery) is a year round calendar of selected nature images and stories with contributions from visitors, fellow photographers and friends.
When it comes to nature photography, it's not only those fascinating tales of high adventure that often accompany talent and skill for a fabulous result. If a picture is truly worth more than a thousand words then a well-timed shot, or a well framed one, can say just as much about you as a photographer too! So if you'd like to showcase one of your pictures here, free, for one calendar month with a short story on how you managed to come by it, then this page is for you.
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To Bee, and Sometimes Not To Bee
Bee orchids are special for many people, with the extraordinary bee-like appearance of the flower. This was the first one I had seen for around five years and also the first I had seen of the colour variant named belgarum which has more pale colour than usual on the lip, and was first described in 1994 in Hampshire, where I took this photograph.
The last bee orchid I saw, five years ago, was on a roadside verge where three or four plants suddenly appeared, but despite searching every year in the same spot, I've not found it again. This variation in numbers is a well recognised feature of bee orchids - plants may not be seen for several years although in other sites it may be more regular. Bee orchids are mainly found on limey soils in the south eastern half of England, but can occasionally occur on other soils and in other parts of the country. I hope it won't be as long as five years until I see my next one!