Where The Bee Sucks . .

. . or ‘Sips’ or ‘Sups’ and is first line of Ariel’s song from Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’. It is also the reason for the Bard’s reputation for bawdiness and the cause of many a ‘six of the best’ across the backsides of smutty-minded little grammar school oiks! Let me explain – it was the habit of printers in days of yore to elongate the first ‘s’ of a word so that it looked much like a lower-case ‘f’. If you carry out this substitution in the first line of Ariel’s solo you will quickly understand the delight found by low-minded little brats and the ready use of the cane by teachers of Eng. Lit. For those of you who struggle with these things the following may help to enlighten you (you are, of course, welcome to view the original if ever you visit):



That said, how on earth I got here and what it has to do with this post is a mystery!

This post is actually about orchids; something this old ‘Boffer’ takes great delight in without pretending to know much about them. They are, just like we humans, complex and amazing in their variety; dependent upon ‘substances’; many are scroungers who sponge off others; charming deceivers well able to propagate across ‘races’ and decidedly promiscuous!

I could go on about the 26,000 odd naturally occurring species; the fact that if David Attenborough had bothered to look around when he was ‘Walking With Dinosaurs’ he would have seen teeming orchids being trampled underfoot – they have been around doing their thing for a very long time. Here in Turkey there are some 150+ species – European varieties as opposed to the more exotic tropical sorts. Some might think them drab and insignificant, or not see them at all and pass them by with no more thought than the dinosaurs – they would be missing so much!

I started to ‘hunt’ orchids around Okçular about seven or eight years ago and there is hardly a season that goes by that I do not ‘discover’ new species – not new to science, just new to me. So far I’ve spotted and photographed 36 different species – a remarkable number – this year has seen two more added, one of them (Ophrys homeri) very rare here in Turkey with (as far as I can discover) only two other sightings.

Ophrys homeri – Homer’s Orchid

Often lumped together as ‘Bee Orchids’, Ophrys are mistresses of deception that entice male insects with sexy good looks or exotic scents that drive these silly males into a frenzy of sexual desire – a case of ‘Wham-bam thank you Sam!’ (I just knew I’d find a link between smutty oiks; Shakespeare, bees and orchids)

Ophrys sicula

a Tongue Orchid – Serapias politisii first spotted last year – this photo taken a few days ago just over the garden wall

ophrys mamosa005_1

Ophrys mamosa

For those of you who are getting bored with orchids, my bug-crazy, 13 year-old grandson arrives next week. We are going to be attempting to collect the dried-up skins of dragonfly nymphs of a very rare species of damselfly for researchers in Holland, so I’ll be boring you with that next! Oh! Wish us luck.

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü

Incredible Okçular!

Burası Türkiye! This Is Turkey!

Look at this photograph – it was taken just two weeks ago. The track outside our garden was flowing like a river from the torrential rain and hailstones were piled up in various corners. The sky was drab and gray – we were drab and gray and spent much of our time camped around the fire with a good book and an even better single malt. Life was almost miserable!

Compare and contrast – today J and I went for a gentle wander along the lanes and goat tracks around our house to see what was to be seen. The morning was clean and fresh and bright – no clouds, no rain, no grey and no single malt (can’t have you thinking I’m one of those mindless, eternal optimists can I?).

Anyway, the Giant Orchids – Barlia robertiana have been around for a week or so and they are the heralds for the rest of orchidkind around here.

Over the next few months there will be a succession of different species and I live in hopes of discovering yet more to add to the twenty seven I’ve recorded so far. Let me tell you though, it isn’t as easy as you might think.

how is anyone supposed to find anything in this clutter?

‘Why not?’ I hear you ask. Because the place is so untidy – everywhere you look is covered in anemones and asphodels and gagea and buttercups and daisies and sand crocus and . . and . . and . . even the beautiful little Fritillaria carica ssp carica is getting in the way a couple of weeks before it is supposed to!

Despite the clutter we did spot these:

Sombre Orchid – Ophrys fusca

Ophrys bremifera

Yellow Ophrys – Ophrys sicula (prev lutea)

Burası Türkiye! This is Turkey! Ain’t it great!

Alan Fenn, Okçular Köyü