Today, I managed to combine work for RBGE, collecting Dactylorhiza traunsteinerioides ssp lapponica (Lapland Marsh-orchid) for micropropagation work, a Threatened Plant Project record of Poylystichum lonchitis (Holly Fern) and Site Condition Monitoring of the Raasay SSSI work for SNH on Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine) and Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens).
It was a very odd feeling to dig up uncommon orchids albeit under licence and one I don’t wish to repeat. There may be 200+ at the site but it still feels fundamentally not right, even though it is in a good cause.
Whilst checking the P. lonchitis site I found three further plants that I had not seen before, which was pleasing.
The E. atrorubens site also yielded many more than previously, largely because I explored a steep rocky ledge in the dry that one would not approach if the rocks were wet. A few were in bud but most will not flower this year.
There were red grouse, golden plovers and snipe. There was, remarkably, Ocypus olens (Devil’s Coach-horse beetle), which only two days ago Richard Moore told me he had not found on Raasay despite having a list of c. 700 beetles for Raasay, the highest in the Hebrides. (More a measure of coleopterist effort than of beetle diversity, I suspect.)
There was a small snail on the limestone that I belive to be Clausilia bidentata (a door snail) and there were ants that I shall send to Murdo Macdonald for the last year of the Highland Ant Atlas project. I shall also send him an ant that Richard found a few days ago in fresh seaweed debris near Brochel – not the first habitat in which one looks for ants.
And some nice Neottia cordata (Lesser Twayblade) on the moor:
Right next to Polystichum lonchitis and P. aculeatum was a candidate for the hybrid, P. x illyricum:
Expert opinion awaited.
Back home, expert opinion is also awaited on a fungus in the garden growng in a dung-enriched vegetable bed.
I think it may be Panaeolus semiovatus. If so, the NBN map shows a record for VC104 on Eigg but none for Skye or Raasay.