I had a great afternoon out with Hugh from Shetland Wildlife yesterday, with two rare plant species our targets – the Bog Orchids again, and Great Sundew Drosera anglica. The former were more fully in flower than hitherto, and the latter were to be a new species for me in Shetland. Whilst Round-leaved Sundew D.rotundiflora is pretty much ubiquitous all over Shetland in the right habitat, Great Sundew is confined to just one small area in the north mainland. (Though with the usual caveat that I’d not be in the least surprised if it didn’t occur elsewhere, but simply hasn’t been found yet).
I went prepared for some low level macro work in a bog – I think that plants always look better from ground level, or in this case, at water level! They grow on the edges of a deepish mire, so to get them at their best meant going into the mire itself… Old jeans, a t-shirt, and barefoot then! It was unsurprisingly cold lying in there, and finding worms crawling across my bare feet was… unpleasant.
But all well worth it though, and I loved getting the leaves backlit by the evening sun. They’re much bigger and more impressive plants than the humble Round-leaved. I went out this morning and did it all over again with the local Round-leaved, this time lying down in the shallows of one of the lochs beside the house. Once the initial cold shock wore off, it was tolerably pleasant. I’d obviously been laid still there for a while taking photos as a soft splash just behind me heralded the landing of a Red-throated Diver some twenty feet away from me!