Shetland Orchids

I’ve been travelling around Shetland lately showing people the stunning wildlife we have here in the islands midsummer – plenty of breeding seabirds and waders, seals, and Otters of course. That said, I’ve made a conscious effort this summer to photograph a particular family I’ve always had a soft spot for, the orchids. Having lived in Kent for a while, I was spoiled for choice back in the day – wonderful species like Lizard, Lady, Monkey, and Early and Late Spider Orchids to name but a few were literally on my doorstep when I lived at the foot of the downs.

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Nowadays, here in Shetland, I still have orchids on the doorstep – my fields are full of Heath Spotted Orchids, and where I’ve allowed damp banks to recover from prior overgrazing I have my first colonising Northern Marsh Orchids. These are the most numerous orchids found here in the islands, but there are others…

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It’s been an exciting time lately, as besides seeing the well-known (albeit localised) Early Purple and Frog Orchids, I’ve also caught up with two new species for me in the islands – Lesser Twayblade, and Early Marsh Orchid.

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The former was thanks to a kind tip-off from a sharp-eyed visitor to Unst (twayblades are very small, subtly coloured, and easily overlooked), and the latter were all our own doing – a new, previously unrecorded colony, and a long way from any other known colonies. Not only a pioneering orchid then, but a very beautiful one too – for now, these are my new favourites. Their flowers’ colouration reminds me of raspberry ripple ice cream – and that’s far from a bad thing!

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One Response to Shetland Orchids

  1. Donatella says:

    Beautiful photography; beautiful flowers.

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