Archive for September, 2010

Stormy Sunset over Skye – and Swallows Update

September 11, 2010

A stormy night tonight with sunset over Skye looking like this:

Sunset over Skye

Rain is coming in from the south.

The swallows are still here with evening counts on the wire up to 40.

Seashore Safari

September 11, 2010

James Merryweather led a seashore safari north of Dunvegan on Thursday that was timed foe low water at the Spring Tide.  We found lots of exciting things from Squat Lobsters to Bootlace Worms, from Edible Sea-urchins to a Shanny and from a so-far unidentified starfish to pepper dulse.

I made use of the day for a bit of plant recording too and now have yet another tetrad showing Sparganium erectum (Branched Bur-reed)

Ready To Go

September 5, 2010

The swallows have been gathering on the wires outside my back door for some time. It can’t be long before they go:

Ready to go

I counted 24 this evening.

Arnaval and Nearby Lochs

September 5, 2010

Arnaval obliged with its known populations of Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow) and Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss).  I failed to find Subularia aquatica (Awlwort) in Loch Fada but found it in a new site in a nearby unnamed loch and again at a known site in Loch Lic-aird.  Maybe I should have entitled this post Awlwort and no play….

The walk from my overnight camping van site took me along the southern side of Gleann Oraid towards Talisker Bay:

Gleann Oraid towards Talisker Bay

Stockval and Loch Sleadale

September 5, 2010

Stockval had most of its known alpines (e.g. Saxifraga stellaris, Asplenium viride, Oxyria digyna, Salix herbacea) though the late evening visit meant that the survey was swift and some old records (Diphasiastrum alpinum, Saussurea alpina) were not re-found  in order to reach and return from Loch Sleadale before dark.  The loch had lots of Subularia aquatica (Awlwort) but I did not find Elatine hexandra (Six-stamened Waterwort).

Dunvegan Castle

September 5, 2010

Some old records in the castle grounds needed re-finding.  Prenanthes purpurea (Purple Lettuce) was recorded near the walled garden some years ago.

Prenanthes purpurea

Why this species but not many others in similar circumstances has been recorded, I don’t know, but it is difficult to know what to record in such circumstances.  The Carex pendula (Pendulous Sedge) next to the Prenanthes has not been officially recorded before:

Prenanthes and Carex pendula

Both species grow inside the walled garden and the sedge also grows in various places around the grounds.

The Gun Court is the only known site on Skye for Centranthus ruber (Red Valerian) and Parietaria judaica (Pellitory-of-the-Wall) and both were still present.  However, plans for the removal of the highly invasive Cotoneaster integrifolius (Entire-leaved Cotoneaster) may threaten both these plants.

A Mercurial Visit to St. John

September 5, 2010

As part of a late season campaign to check old records for Mercurialis perennis (Dog’s Mercury), I went to the area around the derelict churchyard of St John’s at Caroy on Skye.  Both records – to the south of St. Johns’ and by the burn above, still had plenty of plants.  For readers over much of the UK the search for this plant may seem a little strange but well-localised records on Skye number about half a dozen.