In the land of “tilaventina” Bee-orchid

The “tilaventina” form of Common Bee-orchid (Ophrys apifera) is particular variety, usually defined as a “lusus” (= “joke” in Latin), that can be locally find only in Italy in few places of Lombardy, Veneto and Friuli-Venezia Giulia. I went to see them along the Piave riverbed, in Treviso province, where there are some very promising dry meadows.

It was a little bit late for the peak of blooming, so species like Green-winged Orchid (Anacamptis morio), Violet Limodore (Limodorum abortivum), Bird’s-nest Orchid (Neottia nidus-avis), a form of Late Spider-orchid (Ophrys holosericea subsp. untchjii) and Military Orchid (Orchis militaris) were unfortunately over, but there were still some beautiful blooms of other species of orchids: Bug Orchid (Anacamptis coriophora), Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis), Fragrant Orchid (Gymnadenia conopsea), Common Twayblade (Listera ovata), Late Spider-orchid (Ophrys holosericea),Greater Butterfly-orchid (Platanthera chlorantha) and half a dozen of Common Bee-orchid var. tilaventina.

The area was place of harsh fights between Italian and Austro-hungarian armies, so it’s rather nice to imagine that the bodies of thousands of soldiers are now covered by wonderful meadows of orchids.

Bird photography was very unsuccessful (mainly because I was focused on my feet…), but anyway I observed some good birds like Goosander (Mergus merganser), Turtle Dove (Streptopelia turtur), Cuckoo (Cuculus canorus), Melodious Warbler (Hippolais polyglotta), Short-toed Treecreeper (Certhia brachydactyla) and Spotted Flycatcher (Muscicapa striata).

Better luck I had with butterflies: I saw Green Hairstreak (Callophrys rubi), Blue Spot Hairstreak (Satyrium spini), Adonis Blue (Lysandra bellargus), Chapman’s Blue (Polyommatus thersites), Marbled White (Melanargia galathea), Heath Fritillary (Melitaea athalia), Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma), Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia), Meadow Brown (Maniola jurtina), Pearly Heath (Coenonympha arcania), Small Heath (Coenonympha pamphilus), Large Chequered Skipper (Heteropterus morpheus) and Large Skipper (Ochlodes sylvanus).

Luca Boscain

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