26 June 2012


Two weeks ago we decided to go to the coast and look for some of the coastal flowers now out. The rocks were covered in flowers, particularly Bloody Cranesbill, Bird's Foot Trefoil, Sea Campion and Thrift.

Bloody Cranesbill (Geranium sanguineum - below) is native along this part of the coast, though it also occurs as a garden escape.

This was the first Small Tortoiseshell butterfly we had seen this year.

Another Tortoiseshell butterfly had alighted on some Thrift (Armeria maritima). Although Thrift is most often a coastal plant, it can also be found growing on alpine ledges in the hills.

Sea Spurrey (Spergularia sp.) was growing along the edges of the shore.

Birdsfoot Trefoil (Lotus corniculatus) was exceptionally brightly coloured, with more orange flowers than usual.

Red Campion (Silene dioica)

This was only the second time I had seen Navelwort (Umbilicus rupestris) in Scotland. It grows mostly in the west of the UK, often near the coast.

The leathery pointed leaves of Sea Sandwort (Honckenya peploides) formed large patches near the top of the beach.

01 June 2012

Wild orchids in May

Here in Scotland we think of the main orchid season as starting in mid-June, but after the recent hot weather I wondered which species I could find already in flower in May.

No surprise that the first was the Early Purple Orchid (Orchis mascula), near Aberfoyle on 22nd May.

More of a surprise, on the same day, was a number of Lesser Twayblades (Neottia cordata) on the Menteith Hills.

On 25th May we found some Northern Marsh Orchids (Dactylorhiza purpurella) coming into flower near Fintry.

By 26th May, large numbers of Heath Spotted Orchids (Dactylorhiza maculata) were in flower on the lower slopes of Ben Lomond.

Just in time, this Common Twayblade (Neottia ovata) at Dumbrock near Milngavie managed to open one floret on 28th May.