Aberystwyth - a first time visit for Lu and I. A couple days away, without the kids (who were both working) to look at some special orchids - primarily Irish Lady's-tresses at the Dyfi National Nature Reserve, a few miles up the road from Aberystwyth. Wales was fantastic. Our trip took us through the Brecon Beacons and the breath-takingly beautiful Snowdonia National Park - so wild and unspoiled - loved it! We spent Sunday night in Aberystwyth, Monday night in Bangor and travelled home today, via Wrexham (for Dune and Green-flowered Helleborines).
Irish Lady's-tresses - Dyfi National Nature Reserve. Special arrangements have to be made to see these wonderful orchids. They're only found in North America and at a small number of sites in Ireland and Scotland. They're absent from the rest of Europe and Asia, which makes this tiny, isolated Welsh poulation all the more special. Weirdly, a small colony once persisted on the edge of Dartmoor. A big 'thank you' to Sue, and members of the Hardy Orchid Society, for facilitating the viewing, and to the warden, who discovered this population only recently.
Lu and I spent a short while on the Great Orme, looking for Dark-red Helleborine. We found just one spike but sadly it had gone over. Another target for another day...
Grayling - a sub-species unique to the Great Orme - Hipparchia semele ssp thyone - smaller and on the wing a little earlier apparently.
Lu and I didn't spend much time searching for other stuff, but this Great Orme Berry, a species of Cotoneaster, was in the rock garden on the summit. Found on the Great Orme and nowhere else in the world.
A toll road skirts the Great Orme - accessed from Llandudno.
Some of the Broad-leaved Helleborines at Alyn Waters were impressive - really putting the Exmouth specimens to shame.
Was a little surprised to see the odd remaining flower of Common Spotted Orchid. Even more surprised to fine 'well past it' Common Twayblades.
Having seen just a handful of Green-flowered Helleborines in Gloucestershire last summer, it was wonderful to find good numbers at Alyn waters. Again, thanks must go to Steve Tandy for all his help. I feel like I've now got a good appreciation for this species but I'm not at any level where I can detect hybrids yet.