Archive for July, 2009

Rigg and Digg

July 10, 2009

On Wednesday I visited the Trotternish peninsula of Skye, going first to Rigg where I re-found a previous record for Equisetum hyemale (Rough Horsetail or Dutch Rush):

Equisetum hyemale on Skye

Equisetum hyemale on Skye

Then further north to Digg to look for Hippuris vulgaris (Mare’s-tail).  This I found where my predecessor as vice-county recorder had previously reported it but there was no sign in three locations reported by the NCC Loch Survey in 1989.  There has always been a bit of doubt about some of the records from that survey.  In this case one of the lochans has clearly changed in character, now being a swamp with no open water.  A second is heading that way but the third is clear.

Hippuris on Skye

Hippuris on Skye

The lochan with the Hippuris also contained, Lemna minor (Duckweed), Potamogeton berchtoldii (Small Pondweed) and Sparganium erectum (Branched Bur-reed), all uncommon in the vice-county.

During a quick walk along the lower reaches of the River Brogaig I noted Berula erecta (Lesser Water-parsnip) which is known from much farther upstream but is a rare plant in this part of the world, plus large numbers of willows: Salix phylicifolia  (Tea-leaved Willow), Salix viminalis (Osier) and a single specimen of Salix fragilis (Crack Willow) for which there are very few records.

Skye News

July 5, 2009

Roger and Pat Cottis report Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter-vetch) in Sleat having been shown it last week on my SWT walk at Glendale.  This is the first record for Sleat since 1967 and in the same general area.

Vicia orobus in Sleat

Vicia orobus in Sleat

Bill and Deirdre Peppé report on many orchids at Fiscavaig but they were unable to find Dactylorhiza viridis (Frog Orchid) which had been reported from the area in 1989.

A Raasay Day

July 5, 2009

First I went to the west coast to collect some sterile Ophioglossum azoricum (Small Adder’s-tongue) fronds for Mike Wilcox.  He will look st cell patterns to compare with O. vulgatum (Adder’s-tongue).

Next, across the island to the cliffs on the east coast for another Threatened Plants Project report. The Dactylorhiza viridis (Frog Orchid) was doing well with 26 plants found. 

Frog Orchid on Raasay

Frog Orchid on Raasay

This is probably my favourite spot on Raasay with all sorts of fine limestone plants, though it is only for the brave requiring passage across a narrow ledge halfway up a cliff.  The only site in the vice-county for Pyrola rotundifolia (Round-leaved Wintergreen) is here and today one plant was in flower.  This is only the second time that I have seen flowers in this population since I first found it in 1996.

Pyrola rotundifolia on Raasay

Pyrola rotundifolia on Raasay

Amongst the other goodies was lots of Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine): 
Epipactis atrorubens on Raasay

Epipactis atrorubens on Raasay

and Arabis hirsuta (Hairy Rock-cress), Aspenium viride (Green Spleenwort), Draba incana (Hoary Whitlowgrass), Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid), Listera ovata (Twayblade) etc, etc.

I also checked up on the only Raasay site for Chara vulgaris (Common Stonewort – though C. virgata is the common one hereabouts) and added a new site within the same 1 km square.

Some Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort) finished off the day nicely.

A Skye Day

July 1, 2009

The first ferry failed to raise its ramp properly so we all got put ashore back on Raasay.  Some two and a half hours later we got underway again.  A shortened day from what I had planned but I achieved most of what I had set out to do.

First I went to Lochan Doiragat to have another look for the 1988 record for cranberry.  It was recorded as V. microcarpum (Small Cranbery) but was probably V. oxycoccos (Cranberry).  However, I failed.  There are some bits of Sphagnum bog that would need boards to reach – perhaps another time!  Nearby is the known Skye site for Lycopodiella inundata (Marsh Clubmoss).  Numbers seemed down on 2007 but I spotted a second colony about 100m away which was good news.  There was also Carex pauciflora (Few-flowered Sedge) and C. lasiocarpa (Slender Sedge), neither new but both nice to see.

I then went to Armadale to collect a further fruiting specimen of Peltaria alliacaea (Garlic Cress) for RBGE.  Nearby was Salicornia sp.  (Glasswort), Aster tripolium (Sea Aster) and Suaeda maritima (Annual Sea-blite)

I checked a Prunus that I had spotted earlier in the year near Sabhal Mòr Ostaig. It is Prunus domestica (Wild Plum) but I am uncertain as to which subspecies (no fruit).

On the roadside in Sleat I spotted Agrostis gigantea (Black Bent), the first vice-county record since before 2000.

After that it was off to Ardnish near Broadford to look for Dactylorhiza viridis (Frog Orchid) for the Threatened Plants Project.  I found 21. Here is the first:

Frog Orchid on Skye

Frog Orchid on Skye

There were many other orchids – both Butterfly Orchids, Common Spotted and Northern Marsh in profusion and a few Early Marsh.

As I was leaving the area I spotted the hybrid between Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid) and D. maculata (Heath Spotted-orchid) and escaped Polemonium caeruleum (Jacob’s-ladder).