Archive for June, 2009

The next week

June 11, 2009

Tomorrow I go to Canna followed by Eigg (briefly) and Muck.  There are almost no post-Atlas 2000 records for Canna so I intend to fill this gap for the current date class (2000-2009).  Also I shall be recording by tetrad which has not been undertaken before on Canna. There are records of Dactylorhiza viridis (Frog Orchid) and Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter-vetch) which it would be nice to re-find for the Threatened Plants Project.

My visit to Eigg is principally to obtain further specimens of a sedge that caused some confusion last year.  It is probably Carex paniculata (Greater Tussock-sedge) growing in an unusual form – not in tussocks!  If I get time I shall try to find a previous record for D. viridis for the Threatened Plants Project.

On Muck, I hope to obtain records for NM37 for which I only have records for Isolepis cernua (Slender Club-rush) and Dactylorhiza pupurella (Northern Marsh-orchid).  It would also be nice to re-find records of D. viridis and V. orobus for the TPP.  Also, tetrad NM48F has very few records.

Wish me luck. I am taking a one-man tent.

Glendale & A Threatened Plant

June 11, 2009

I spent yesterday inthe Glendale area, partly in preparation for an SWT walk I am leading in a couple of weeks’ time, partly to do some tetrad bashing  and partly to do my duty with an old “threatened plant” record for Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter-vetch).

All went well.  Some meadows were filled with the scent of Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid) though I was hopeful of finding Pseudorchis albida  (Small-white Orchid) but failed. Platanthera chlorantha (Greater   Butterfly-orchid), Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid) and D. purpurella (Northern Marsh-orchid) were all showing well. The V. orobus was doing OK on the sea-cliffs and on my way home I checked another colony near Roag, a slightly odd site as it is on a road verge and embankment. However, it is not far from the shore and not that different from a standard sea-cliff site.

Other interesting finds included Convolvulus arvensis (Field Bindweed) and Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle), both uncommon on Skye.  The former is in fact very rare but recorded previously from this location.  There are more records for Carlina but this is the first post-Atlas 2000 record on Skye.  Many records have been made on Eigg and Rum this decade.

In the river at Glendale there was this plant:


I am not sure what it is but suspect that it is a land plant (Veronica scultellata?) growing under water.

Wind Farm Site

June 9, 2009

Today, I surveyed an area near Portree that could be used for a wind farm.  There is a large area of pretty dull moor which would seem a harmless site botanically plus two rich burns and a large area of native woodland that do not seem so appropriate – but probably not the right place to erect turbines anyway.  Nothing of great rarity but some nice plants in a lochan and in the gorges.


June 7, 2009

Just back from Mull where I went on my annual visit to help the local BSBI Vice-county Recorder with her tetrad recording for a new Flora of Mull in due course.

We found a new site for Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) which is rare on Mull, the second Mull site for Dactylorhiza lapponica (Lapland Marsh-orchid), to use the now superseded names, some very fine Gymnocarpium dryopteris (Oak Fern) and Pseudorchis albida (Small-white Orchid).

Another good find was Carex vesicaria  (Bladder-sedge) which is rare on Mull (and unknown on Skye in recent times).

We also watched a white-tailed eagle being harried by a peregrine falcon, which looked tiny alongside the flying barn door.

Other matters

June 2, 2009

I see 100 different people have visited my Flora since I added a counter. 

A fine toad in my compost heap a few days ago.

No more field mice in the garage recently – five were unable to resist peanut butter in a live trap and transported elsewhere over recent weeks.

To Mull tomorrow…….

Bird’s-nest Orchid and Hybrid Thistle

June 2, 2009

Today before tetrad-bashing in the under-recorded 10km square NG34, I checked a couple of things in the Portnalong/Fernilea area.  On Saturday Philip Samsun sent me a record of Neottia nidus-avis (Bird’s-nest Orchid) from the same tetrad as one recorded in 1987.  I had tried to find it in 2006 but failed.  Philip, having read my flora of Raasay & Rona was aware that this orchid is rare in this area and so sent me photos of the desiccated fruiting spikes he had found the October before last.  As it is the right time of year, I went to look for them in flower today and found twelve flowering spikes plus some old fruiting spikes:

Bird's-nest Orchid on Skye June 2009

Bird's-nest Orchid on Skye June 2009

I then went on to have another look at the putative Cirsium x wankelii (C. heterophyllum (Melancholy Thistle) x C. palustre (Marsh Thistle)) that I found on 12 May.  It looks pretty convincing to me – big, 6 capitula of which three are now well down the main stem in leaf axils and pinnatifid leaves – but I had better get an expert opinion.

Cirsium x wankelii (?) on Skye

Cirsium x wankelii (?) on Skye

The tetrad-bashing proved quite pleasing too with Carex canescens (White Sedge) and a fine river gorge


June 1, 2009

We have just had a couple of days near Gairloch – one doesn’t want to go so far that one can’t see Raasay – unless one has to……  The weather has been great.  Not much botanising but by the road was a good stand of Carex paniculata (Greater Tussock-sedge) and in the adjacent ditch Osmunda regalis (Royal Fern).  I shall pass on the records to the local VCR, Duncan Donald, but I expect he knows the site as he lives not all that far away.