A Different Orchid and more Adder’s-tongues

Yesterday’s trip was intended to check on adder’s-tongue sites that I have not seen for some years.  The first site was the most southerly site on Raasay for Small Adder’s-tongue (Ophioglosssum azoricum) last visited in 2000.  It was fine and very clearly that species and with fertile fronds already.

I then went to look for a site for the larger species, Ophioglosssum vulgatum, at Manish Beag which I had failed to re-find a few years ago when leading a SWT walk.  I failed to find it again. It was a very small population and I think it has probably gone.

I went to the two O. azoricum sites that I know in dried-up pools in the summer. They were not dried up.  One was completely full of water and I couldn’t spot any adder’s-tongues. The other was slightly down from its maximum level and around the edge were quite a lot of these tiny plants – some with fertile fronds already.  They looked entirely normal.  These are the populations that look strange later on – presumably those that remain under water for a while yet then grow a little differently.

I had lunch here on the north Manish coast watching gannets, mew (common) gulls and a sandpiper. 

On to another old O. vulgatum site which I failed to find in a large area of bracken.

On the way back to Tarbert where I had left the car, I spotted Lesser Twayblade (Neottia (formerly Listera) cordata) in flower.  This is about the right time for it to start flowering hereabouts, though the flowers are so inconsequential that from any distance the dead inflorescences look little different for months to come.

A heron and cuckoos finished off a fine day.

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