The HOME PAGE will now be used for archived older stories. Chose many images down the years and select a topic. is a personal initiative exploring where we live with many photographs and years of recording.  
Home Page 2024
EAST Bee Orchid Birdsnest Orchid
WEST Marsh Orchids Fragrant Orchids
NORTH Small White & Greater Butterfly Orchid
Green Winged Orchid Dense-flowered Orchid  SOUTH

Other Later flowering species… Spiranthes spiralis and others.

There are a few other species we want to promote. These are dispersed geographically and their season ends in August with Spiranthes romanzoffiana’s cousin, the Autumn’s Lady’s Tresses (Spiranthes spiralis) which come and go very easily and may appear in vast numbers if a location is right. These may be ’cousins’ but they have a different lifestyle with mass colonisation in habitats that suit them perfectly  — dunes, golf courses, etc . S. romanzoffiana  habitually occurs within 50cm above low water level but this can be a considerable width if the shores are flat or gentle. Despite rumours, they are hardly ever found away from water. They may shed seeds locally but there is also some evidence of aerial distribution from east Europe and Asia. It is all very fascinating and it is rewarding to add to the pool of knowledge of spiralis,  as we have done for romanzoffiana! Getting to know S. romanzoffiana has been a rewarding experience and has brought us contacts through Europe and America — it is an American species! Autumn’s Lady’s Tresses is not an American species BUT one which occurs coincidentally with romanzoffiana in Ireland and it seems coincidental/amazing that they occur in such vast numbers on our western seaboard? Kew Gardens show their distribution as all southern Europe (up to Ireland and Britain) Turkey, Iran, Iraq, North West Africa and the Himalayas. Another great Spiranthes traveller!
We have recently surveyed the area involved and due to careful management by the owner, the numbers of this increasingly threatened species are increasing in her area. But other hills in the region have lost similar clusters of this very attractive species. However, on another part of the Kesh/ Bricklieve slopes is being protected by exclusion of animals at the time of flowering. Look at this landscape and, if you see big flamboyant white flowers (often quite tall) peering up through the rough grassland, then you are looking at a site that is probably rich in rare lime loving plants and animals.

Research and Conservation

There are a variety of instruments used in the past that are now being planned, whereby protection of biodiversity and farming activity can go hand in hand. We believe that this is the ideal way to go, as everybody wants to see the country remain healthy and attractive and we all need to survive especially in small rural areas where there may be no other opportunities to make a living. We hope to find out what exactly these proposals entail and how we can contribute in terms of research and information so that landowners may be able to encourage whatever biodiversity is on their property, rather than pursue a difficult path of reclamation which will quickly remove all biodiversity particular to that area.
Greater Butterfly Orchid, Plantathera chlorantha This plant can be tall, prominent and emotionally rewarding when seen on a mountain pasture (Bricklieve Mtns), or in large numbers as in farmland location (BELOW).

Summer species to be considered include:

Frog Orchid: in large numbers at Strandhill in July Fragrant Orchids: found around L. Gara in July Marsh Helleborine: widespread lakeshores in July Bog Orchid: rare in tiny streams in pools on mountain slopes Dark Red Helleborine: Declining; north Clare July Green Flowered Helleborine: Rare and elusive/Dublin Leitrim July MORE information on these species can be found on our Site Map.
Local Orchid Sites The Compass links below bring you to outstanding botanical Sites in, or near, Co. Roscommon. It is Home to us now, and it has a greatly underestimated range of Flora and Plant habitats. Go out an Explore! Just click on any of the 4 Blue Compass points…
CLICK IMAGE where you see this Icon.
S I T E MAP Our Site Map has now moved to RIGHT of page
The Image above is just a gentle reminder of where we find, and when we find, some rare small orchids that festoon our countryside in Spring. Spiranthes flowers somewhat later. The Compass in the centre of our image above represent where we live in north Roscommon, Ireland. We have listed around it the other orchid species that flower from May to June. We admit to delays in keeping pace with the Seasons and this will change as soon as we can start to see and record large numbers (hopefully) of Irish Lady’s Tresses. In the meantime enjoy some of our rarest smaller species; just click on the points of the Compass to go to various Orchid types.
WELCOME to our HOMEPAGE Use the 1.2.3. Guides to focus on Orchids, other wild Plants, and Rare Species. OTHER important SITES are listed in our SITE MAP (2)  where you will find a very large collection of data and info over many years. The Irish Lady’s Tresses seed capsule shown LEFT will be enlargeable SHORTLY because of the uniqueness of these photographs.. The TABLE (Left) provides Annual Reports of this species around 3  north Mayo Lakes reporting Numbers, Survival and Reproduction. (This Table will also be retained. (Nov. 14th, 2023)
Dense Flowered Orchid
Small White Orchid
Apologies for absence of available Lady’s Tresses; they are simply flooded or broken or inaccessible! There is still a possibility the Orchid may re-emerge if there is a reduction in our present very high level of rain. The mountain, Nephin, towers over the lakes and lowlands and probably attracts wind borne seeds to this place over the years. In the meantime we show a collection of recent images some from higher ground and some underwater. This species can survive well under water but not in stormy conditions. At present our records show about 300 plants — half what we recorded last year and even lower than 2021. BELOW are two fine clumps from Victoria Bay on east Lough Conn with BELOW LEFT a rare specimen away from the immediate shore and growing happily on a stony drainage ditch beside a bog!
Raised Water Levels  show up well in the 4 images Above and Left of this box. Several of these images show specimen growing under water and looking like survivors when we visited. Most shores on the North West corner of L. Cullin have continuous specimens of Spiranthes but not in large numbers. The main population of this species in the area lies along the top shore of L. Cullin  either side of the Pontoon Bridge. Both of these areas  have been hit with problems. East of the Bridge a large population (90+) Spiranthes romanzoffiana has been largely wiped out by a small number of horses grazing here, where they never used to graze much before. West of the Bridge is a smaller colony occurring both on a headland and the coast alongside the R310 connecting both sides of these large lakes. L. Cullin is shallow and stony and L. Conn is deep with fewer visible boulders away from its shores. All these Photos are available at a larger scale; just click on the Image!
2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 21a 2022    22a 2023
Low numbers due to July/Aug flooding. See BOTTOM of this Page…
Part Survey, The Lagoon, N. L. Conn. Flood placed seeds.
YEAR          Description               Count/Link
Seed maturation/release!         All DATA for 2022
Spiranthes numbers, places, association, etc
Conservation , conclusion, new plans. (1 of 2 pages)
New survey sites but number down due to floods.
Settlement pattern analysis
775 666 371
FIRST nearly full Survey. ‘Coming from America?
Spiranthes romanzoffiana in Ireland We have a very large data source from the biggest survey site of this species in Europe.…
A very high tide floods the land as canoeists enjoy the end of Summer as the Sun sinks in the West!
Our Site Map is now on a separate page.  Click on Text or IMAGE to go to years of work in our Wild places.
Lapwing, Vanellus vanellus Breeding Comeback: Here we a see a Lapwing in late Summer near a possible breeding site. This and other waders (like the Curlew) may be making a very welcome breeding return to Ireland.
Summer Snowflake, Leucojum aestivum Can be abundant around secluded lake shores in late April or May, this is a very attractive local marginal species that forms dense clumps on margins of open water where reeds have not dominated. 
Autumn Lady’s Tresses
We  take a traditional Natural History approach to observing and recording what we see — and often this gels with what other people are doing. We see our role largely as presenting data in an attractive format and getting excited about rare or unusual species… and worried about losing others from our National Ecology.
 for any further Information you seek.
The Scene Below reflects the Situation that brought the 2023 Spiranthes season to an end. From mid July until mid January 2024 Ireland has endured a deluge. CLIMATE CHANGE seems to be playing with us! After a long Hot Spring the rest of the Summer became wet and has remained so until 2024
Apart from S.romanzoffiana 4 other rare white flowering Orchids are prevalent in this part of NW Ireland. Why? And WHY also are they all white flowered!
Spiranthes romanzoffiana 2023 Floods curtailed our Survey this year. 371 specimens were recorded before count was abandoned. Including unsurveyed areas we feel that number may be on a par for recent years.
SnowDrop Galanthus nivalis Associated with trees in January and February , this is a very attractive species that forms small clumps in leaf litter under bare Beech trees, typically. A smaller plant to the rarer Snowflake.
WINTER to SUMMER! Two bright white early flowering plants,
+ + + + + + + +
Unfortunately the Flooding shown below marked the end of our 2023 survey for Irish Lady’s Tresses. The few plants below were quickly submerged and remain under water! However they will emerge 2024 rain permitting and allowing Lake shores to dry out next Summer (2024)