Irish Ladies Tresses - my final extant British Orchid, 23 July 2020

Having 'completed' the British dragonflies in 2018 with Azure Hawker and the British butterflies earlier this year with Chequered Skipper it was the turn of orchids last month.

Unless, by some minor miracle somebody finds a Ghost Orchid (and we get to hear about it!) Irish Ladies Tresses was the last of the British orchids for me. In previous years this would have meant a lengthy and logistically tricky trip up to the Hebrides but in 2019 a small colony was discovered lurking in Wales. News of these was kept quiet until they had finished flowering last year but the hope was that we could all go and see them in 2020. Then covid-19 came along and our hopes were dashed for another year. Or were they..? 

I count myself as extremely priviledged to be one of the few who were able to gain access to them this year thanks to the kindness and willingness of others. Notably my friend James Lowen and Natural Resources Wales. 

It was with no small amount of excitement that we met at the allotted time and place on that wet July morning to be taken the short distance to see these beauties. They certainly didn't disappoint - 16 gorgeous twisting white pieces of perfection on the short turf. We filled our photographic boots!


Yours truly (with thanks to James Lowen for the pic!)


While everything else pales into insignificance a little compared to the ILTs we also saw Round-leaved Sundew, Intermediate Sundew, Bog Pimpernel, Bog Asphodel, Wild Angelica, Eyebright, Bog Myrtle and a female Black Darter that morning. A Grasshopper Warbler, several Willow Warblers and a pleasing number of Lesser Redpolls were the main avian highlights - together with plenty of Manx Shearwaters offshore nearby. 

Round-leaved Sundew

Wild Angelica

                                                                                                                                 Sea Spurge

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