Those Bees in Tramore!

There have been a number of good-news stories from around the country this summer about native orchids. Green-winged orchids appeared on the grass verges of a housing estate in the midlands when the local authority stopped cutting the grass there. Perhaps, some of the residents might have complained of the less than usual tidiness of the estate but, I imagine, even they must have been delighted to see such treasures flowering at their doorsteps. I certainly would and have travelled over 50Km on occasions to see them in flower. There have been similar stories about roadside verges revealing their treasures for the first times in decades from around the country – nature, given a chance, will always delight us.

Last week we had one of those good-news stories in Tramore, Co. Waterford, which is only a twenty minute drive away and a regular destination for us for walking and swimming. When my friend Mark contacted me and told me of an extraordinary flowering of Bee orchids there I was delighted. Tramore is seaside town with a large area of sand dunes and Mark and I had visited the sand dunes on several occasions to see Bee orchids there but they were always in small numbers and very scattered so that finding them was a challenge.

On the edge of the town of Tramore, on what was previously a landfill site, Bee orchids are now thriving.

On this occasion they were in a far more convenient location, a matter of a few minutes walk from a carpark and in a new and unexpected area. Some years back the local authority had a landfill site quite close to the Backstrand in Tramore – one might have questioned the wisdom of placing it there but they were different times with different views and less knowledge and appreciation of our environment. The landfill site was closed and covered and the area is now suitable for walking and gaining access to the Backstrand and the sand dunes, both areas rich in fauna and flora.

Click on the first image to scroll through the photographs:

This was where the Bee orchids were in flower. Last year a total of fifty plants was recorded – they were surveyed and recorded when they had gone to seed so, quite possibly, their number was underestimated at that time. This year there was a flowering of three to four hundred plants, a veritable hive of bee orchids. This is an extraordinary number of bee orchids to be seen in one population – quite honestly, most people would be thrilled and delighted to see even one plant of the Bee orchid as it is one of those special plants which appeals especially to everybody. It is the plant with the funny face, the clown face and, of course, the plant with the wonderful story: by design it resembles a bee and also emits a fragrance which is so similar to the pheromones of a female bumble bee that the male bumble bees are attracted in a frenzy of sexual excitement and attempt copulation. Their energetic actions shake and disperse the pollen in the flower, leading to pollination, seed-set and future generations all thanks to the ingenuity of a plant’s design and the gullibility of a bee.

It was wonderful to see this beautiful event and it is an affirmation of the good approach our local authority has taken to the care of this area. I spoke to the Heritage Officer of the local authority and she was delighted to hear of the great numbers of orchids in an area which had previously been a blot on the landscape. Nature is wonderful and gives so much pleasure and enjoyment and it is one of the great delights of life to be able to see such events. I hope you enjoy the photographs of these gorgeous native Irish orchids!

Click on the first image to scroll through the photographs:

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8 thoughts on “Those Bees in Tramore!

  1. I live in Dublin and its wonderful to see oxeye daisies flowering on the roadside verges everywhere now. It brings back happy memories of my youth.

    Liked by 1 person

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