Fritillaries

We spent a magical Sunday morning wandering through Iffley Meadows in search of snake’s-head fritillaries.

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As we entered the nature reserve, managed by Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust, we spied, in the distance, patches of the meadowland that were dotted with purple and white, and made our way over to admire the blooms close up.

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Delicate, dangling flowerheads, blotched with their distinctive chequered pattern, nodded in the spring breeze, and lit up like lanterns when the sun caught their petals.

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We watched as hungry bees buffeted the blooms and scrambled in, busily responding to the flowers’ promises of pollen and nectar within.

There were white-tailed and red-tailed bumblebees, common carder bumblebees, and tawny mining bees; all enjoying the most elegantly served feast.

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The thickening grey clouds of an April sky provided the perfect backdrop to this trio of pure white flowers.

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The clouds moved on, revealing the particular blue of a spring sky. The bees buzzed. And there, for a moment, all was right with the world.

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