Talk Friday March 6th

February 26, 2015

Highly recommended:

Hen Harriers

Rubus chamaemorus on Skye

February 26, 2015

I thought I had posted this a while ago but it doesn’t seem to be there… Adele has found Rubus chamaemorus (Cloudberry) in the Kyleakin Hills.

Rubus chamaemorus (Cloudberry)  Photo: A. Beck

Rubus chamaemorus (Cloudberry) Photo: A. Beck

The only previous record from VC104 is from Rum and thought to be an error. The Flora of Rum says: “Recorded in 1997–98 on the Triangular Buttress, Trallval, near to where the grassland runs out…… This seems an unlikely record and possibly an error for R. saxatilis; there are no other records from the Hebrides, or from Ardnamurchan,”

The nearest records to Adele’s are about 20 km to the east on the mainland pre-1970 and unlocalised in two 10km squares. Records to the east of that become more frequent, recent and localised.

Now, anyone for Vaccinium uliginosum (Bog Bilberry) or Cornus suecica (Dwarf Cornel)?

Madeira Sea Stock

February 26, 2015

One of the many Madeiran endemics:

Matthiola maderensis

Matthiola maderensis

Lots of it about, flowering well this time of year.

Hybrid Fern

February 18, 2015

The latest issue of American Naturalist contains an article about a fem from the French Pyrenees – x Cystocarpium roskamianum - a recently formed intergeneric hybrid between parental lineages that diverged from each other approximately 60 million years ago. This is an extraordinarily deep hybridization event, “roughly akin to an elephant hybridizing with a manatee or a human with a lemur”.

x Cystocarpium roskamianum

x Cystocarpium roskamianum

The parents are Gymnocarpium robertianum (Limestone Fern) and Cystopteris dickieana (Dickie’s Bladder-fern), both recorded in Scotland, though neither is known in VC104. We do of course have Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Oak Fern) and Cystopteris fragilis (Brittle Bladder-fern)………

Two Talks Tomorrow

February 18, 2015

Take your pick:

talk1Talk 2

Spring Snowflake

February 15, 2015

Roger and Pat have spotted Leucojum vernum (Spring Snowflake) growing with Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop) in a slightly raised wet flush at Kilbeg. Although neither of these is native here, the former is a first record for the vice-county and the latter a first for Sleat.

Leucojenum vernum

Leucojenum vernum      Photo: R. Cottis

The only other west coast records for L. vernum date from over 30 years ago from Tobermorey.

32,000-Year-Old Plant Brought Back to Life

February 6, 2015

The oldest plant ever to be regenerated has been grown from 32,000-year-old seeds—beating the previous record-holder by some 30,000 years. A Russian team discovered a seed cache of Silene stenophylla, a flowering plant native to Siberia, that had been buried by an Ice Age squirrel near the banks of the Kolyma River. Radiocarbon dating confirmed that the seeds were 32,000 years old.

Silene stenophylla

Silene stenophylla

More here.

Blowfly Survey – Volunteers Wanted, N and W Scotland

February 6, 2015

Would you like to help with a proposed national project on blowflies this year, looking at distribution and phenology? What is needed is a good spread of volunteers to run simple traps (these will be provided, though you might need to bait with a bit of liver or similar at intervals). If you are interested (no commitment at this stage), please complete the form here so that the likely level of participation can be gauged.

HBRG has resources on blowflies here, numbers 5, 9 and 16, if you want some background.

Talk in Portree – Birds of Broadford Bay

February 2, 2015

Benson poster

Peat Spotter

January 28, 2015

The European Space Agency’s Peat Spotter satellite makes it cheaper and easier to locate and monitor peatlands. See Satellites for peat’s sake.

The ESA points out that “Peatlands make up just 3% of land but capture twice as much carbon as all forests combined. They are also an important source of drinking water and provide a home to many rare and threatened animals and plants. Ecosystems work best when left intact but these wetland areas are being threatened by human exploitation, resulting in vast carbon emissions, frequent and uncontrollable fires and loss of valuable landscapes.”

Too right!


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