Archive for August, 2011

A Day on the Limestone

August 23, 2011

I have  never seen Gentianella amarella (Autumn Gentian) or Epipactis helleborine (Broad-leaved Helleborine) on Skye and I have recently become aware of two additional sites for Potentilla crantzii (Alpine Cinquefoil).  All these are in the Suardal/Torrin area on the Durness Limestone.

I only found one of these species today, the gentian, which is subsp. amarella:

Gentianella amarella subsp. amarella

I hope to have better luck with the cinquefoil next May when it will be in flower.

There were some late-flowering primroses:

Primula vulgaris

and white-flowered Centaurea nigra (Common Knapweed):

White Knapweed

I checked up on the only known plants on Skye of Asplenium ceterach (Rustyback Fern), which were in good health:


The limestone pavement had plenty of Epipactis atrorubens (Dark-red Helleborine) and in some places there was Calmagrostis epigejos (Wood Small-reed) and Elymus caninus (Bearded Couch) growing together in the grikes.

Finally, a view of Loch Cill Chriosd from the south with lumpy foreground interest:

Loch Cill Chriosd

Moth Trap

August 23, 2011

I had my first go with a moth trap a couple of nights ago.  It is a Heath type and I trapped or attracted to the adjacent wall about 25 moths of about a dozen species.  Also two wasps and more than enough midges.

Brian Neath has kindly identified the images I sent him which included:

Common Rustic


Ingrailed Clay


Nitella translucens

August 19, 2011

Nitella translucens (Translucent Stonewort) has been found by Richard Lansdown on Skye. Previously known on Raasay (2002) and Soay (2010), this is only the third record for the vice-county and the first for mainland Skye.  It is an extraordinary size for a charophyte, being up to 60cm long and individual cells reaching 3cm.


More from Muck

August 14, 2011

Michael Usher managed to find several plants on  Muck that had not been recorded since before 2000 including Dactylorhiza incarnata pulchella (Early Marsh-orchid)Dryopteris carthusiana (Narrow Buckler-Fern)Isolepis setacea (Bristle Club-rush)Myosotis scorpioides (Water Forget-me-not)Pinguicula lusitanica (Pale Butterwort) and Polypodium interjectum (Intermediate Polypody).

Furthermore, he added two species to the island list I sent him: Malva moschata (Musk-mallow) growing  associated with the hotel gardens and more pleasingly, the native Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian) – though I have since located an anonymous record for the northwest of Muck for the Gentianella and it is listed for Muck in The Botanist on Skye and Adjacent Islands.

Sarah on Soay

August 14, 2011

Sarah and Fred had a foreshortened stay on Soay, but Sarah managed to re-find  an old record for Cladium mariscus (Great Fen-sedge) at Lochan na Teanga Riabhaich:

Cladium on Soay

Soay Cladium Leaf

Cladium is well known from Loch Doire an Lochain on Soay but  Lochan na Teanga Riabhaich is less accessible and they had to run the gauntlet of midges and clegs all the way.

She also found Pinguicula lusitanica (Pale Butterwort) which had not been recorded on Soay since before 2000 and Drosera x obovata (Drosera rotundifolia x anglica), a first for Soay.

Loch Eishort & Ramasaig Cliffs

August 7, 2011

After the Allt Dearg search and a previously unrecorded moorland tetrad, I went on to Loch Eishort and found pretty much all the plants previouly recorded in it – except Potamogeton praelongus (Long-stalked Pondweed), but it could well be lurking in the middle, and I found P. perfoliatus (Perfoliate Pondweed) which had not been found there before.

The cliffs nearby are spectacular:

Waterstein Head

Ramasaig Cliff

I only had time to cover about half a kilometre of cliff to the north of Ramasaig Cliff, but it was covered in good things like Silene acaulis (Moss Campion), Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape),  Juniperus communis ssp nana (Dwarf Juniper) and hundreds of Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian):

Gentianella campestris

Orobanche alba on the edge


Allt Dearg Willow again

August 7, 2011

Armed with a photograph, this time I found the bush that from a distance had caused some excitement at the field meeting.  Sadly, close-up it turns out the be the ubiquitous Salix aurita (Eared Willow).  Anyway, here is the Vicia sylvatica (Wood Vetch) from close by:

Vicia sylvatica

and a curiously mottled specimen of Polystichum aculeatum (Hard Shield-fern) (Click on the image for a better view.):

Mottled Polystichum aculeatum

More from the Field Meeting

August 4, 2011

Sadly, the putative Equisetum x mildeanum has not been confirmed, nor has a putative hybrid involving Carex rostrata (Bottle Sedge). A brief re-visit to the Allt Dearg gorge yesterday failed to find any interesting willows, though there was lots of Salix caprea (Goat Willow) that had not been recorded during the Field Meeting visit – and also Vicia sylvatica (Wood vetch), Hymenophyllum wilsonii (Wilson’s Filmy-fern), Asplenium scolopendrium (Hart’s-tongue) and Cystopteris fragilis (Brittle Bladder-fern) which had all been recorded some years ago – the ferns in 1968 and the vetch in 1983.

Some more images from the Field Meeting:

Hygrocybe sp. Photo L Farrell

Willow for further investigation Photo L. Farrell

Ribes spicatum Photo L. Farrell

Anagallis tenella Photo J Walmisley

Anthracoidea karii Photo R. McGuire

Surveying the Challenge Photo R. McGuire