Thursday, 28 July 2016


Tuesday's visit to the archaeologists at Swordle produced an unexpected and very welcome bonus. The fields along the banks of the Swordle burn were rich with orchids.

This is a common spotted. None of my observations are particularly systematic, but it does seem that the common spotted are flowering later this year, but that, judging by their size, they are enjoying the damp weather.

The heath spotted is closely related. Elsewhere, the heath spotted have largely finished flowering, and those that did flower were small, but this was one of several specimens at Swordle all of which were doing very well.

Three or four of these were also found in the field. This looks like one of the marsh orchids, perhaps a northern marsh, and these too have also finished elsewhere.

It makes one wonder what it is in local environments which controls the times at which some orchid species flower.

We made a trip to Sanna yesterday to see if the frog orchids have come out on time or whether they, like several other species, are either running very late or have given up on the year. In previous years they've been in full bloom by early July.

We were very pleased and relieved to see that some, at least, were out, though once again those that were flowering were all in one spot, while the place where we usually find the most specimens hasn't a single stem showing.

Like many of the orchids here, there's huge variety in the frog orchids, from those that are almost green through to those which have a slightly coppery tinge, and from those that are tall and weedy through to others which are shorter and more robust.

We'll be back at Sanna in the next week or so to see how the frog orchids progress.

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