Archive for July, 2011


July 26, 2011

Michael Usher has been to Muck and sent a first batch of records for Eilean Aird nan Uan including Atriplex praecox (Early Orache), Festuca ovina ssp. ophioliticola (Sheep’s-fescue) and Polygonum oxyspermum ssp raii (Ray’s Knotgrass) all of which are interesting and valuable.

Orchid Hybrids

July 26, 2011

Terry Swainbank reports X Dactylodenia vollmannii (Gymnadenia borealis x Dactylorhiza incarnata) from Ard Dorch:

X Dactylodenia vollmannii

James Merryweather reports Dactylorhiza x venusta ( D. fuchsii x D. purpurella) from Ashaig:

Dactylorhiza x venusta

and Morag Henriksen reports Dactylorhiza x formosa (D. maculata x purpurella) from Edinbane:

Dactylorhiza x formosa

Dragons and Damsels at Dalavil

July 26, 2011

Last Friday Gleann Meadhonach, Loch a’ Ghlinne and Doire na h-Achlais provided some fine specimens of the Odonata. As well as Libellula quadrimaculata (Four-spotted Chaser) and Ischnura elegans (Blue-tailed Damselfly) there was Sympetrum striolatum (Common Darter):

Common Darter

and Calopteryx virgo (Beautiful Demoiselle):

Beautiful Demoiselle - Male

Beautiful Demoiselle - Female

Hebridean Evening

July 23, 2011

We may be a month past the solstice but this was the view from our bedroom at 10.45 last night.

Tree Forms

July 23, 2011

Some pictures from the Dalavil area yesterday:

More Smut

July 22, 2011

This week I found Anthracoidea paniceae, a smut that grows on Carex panicea (Carnation Sedge) and looks very like A. karii that grows on C. echinata.  I have also been seeing more of that on Skye – during the field meeting and in the Dalavil area today – of which more later.

Anthracoidea paniceae

Loch Bay

July 21, 2011

I spent a day after the field meeting with Joanna and Julian and we explored part of the west coast of Loch Bay near Stein.  This included a tetrad with no previous records, which was valuable.  We found Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape):

Orobanche alba

good stands of Bolboschoenus maritimus (Sea Club-rush) and some fine ungrazed Aster tripolium (Sea Aster):

Bolboschoenus maritimus

Aster tripolium

There was also Gunnera tinctoria (Giant-rhubarb); the picture shows the pale spines on the petioles that distinguish this species from G. manicata (Brazilian Giant-rhubarb):

Gunnera tinctoria

More on the Field Meeting

July 21, 2011

Other interesting finds included Scrophularia auriculata (Water Figwort) and Potentilla reptans (Creeping Cinquefoil), both common plants in other parts of the British Isles, but rare here.

A very hairy willow looking like Salix lapponum (Downy Willow) in a position that was beyond the reach of the party that found it needs further investigation.  A photo is promised but I suspect that I may need to return with a rope…. This would be a real turn-up for the book.

A possible Poa palustris (Swamp Meadow-grass) is going away for confirmation.  This would be only the second site on Skye and the third in the vice-county.

I am not sure what this is growing in a burn – a freshwater sponge?

Freshwater Sponge?

Willow Hybrids

July 18, 2011

I sent three hybrid willow specimens to Desmond Meikle and Jeanne Webb and they have come back full of exciting news.

The first from Glen Drynoch is Salix caprea x S. myrsinifolia = S. x latifolia, the second record for VC104.

The second from Glen Ose is Salix cinerea x S. myrsinifolia = S. x strepida, a first record for VC104.

The third from the Loch Meàchdannach area is thought to be a very rare hybrid indeed, Salix aurita x S. herbacea x S. repens = Salix x grahamii but will need catkins for final confirmation. A job for next year….

Salix x grahamii ?

BSBI Field Meeting – Initial Thoughts

July 13, 2011

Seventeen folk took part in some or all of the three-day event, coming from Hove in the south to Tain in the north.  I will get to a fuller report in due course but the weather was excellent apart from some rain on Sunday morning which soon cleared, and we completed the task of covering tetrads in the 10km square NG15 and managed some in NG14 as well.

Highlights included lots of Botrychium lunaria (Moonwort) and Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape), Anagallis tenella (Bog Pimpernel), Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle), Draba incana (Hoary Whitlowgrass), Hammarbya paludosa (Bog Orchid), Ribes spicatum (Downy Currant), Saxifraga oppositifolia (Purple Saxifrage),  Vicia orobus (Wood Bitter-vetch), and Vulpia bromoides  (Squirreltail Fescue).

Possible Equisetum x mildeanum (E. pratense x sylvaticum) and Nasturtium x sterile (N. officinale x microphyllum) will be studied further.

Bog Orchid on Dunvegan Head