Archive for September, 2011

Return to Dunvegan Head

September 16, 2011

Yesterday was a beautiful day that merited an expedition. I decided to return to Dunvegan Head, the site of the July Field Meeting and see if I could spot any of the old records we had failed to re-find.  In particular I was looking for Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose), Lycopodiella clavatum (Stag’s-horn Clubmoss), Dryas octopetala (Mountain Avens) and Saussurea alpina (Alpine Saw-wort).

I had most hope of the Viburnum as we had not gone into the gorge where it was recorded, but  despite adding quite a few species to the July list for that tetrad, I could not spot any V. opulus.  The Lycopodiella was more of a forlorn hope as we had looked for it in July and the area of heather from which it had been recorded had clearly been burned not too many years ago. Again I failed.

On the western side of the Head I also failed to find the Saussurea but there was quite a lot of Dryas, which was the one I was most hoping to find:

Dryas on Dunvegan Head

All in all I added forty plant records to the four tetrads I visited.

I found an additional site for Carlina vulgaris(Carline Thistle) not far from one of the July sites:

Carlina vulgaris

and there were still a few flowers on the Silene acaulis (Moss Campion):

Silene acaulis

I found a moth that Brian Neath has identified as a Treble-bar, and there were Heather Flies (Bibio pomonae) about.  There was a colony of the solitary bee Colletes succinctus(Common Colletes) and I managed to get a photo of one:


I spotted what appears to be Ergot on Nardus stricta (Mat-grass):

Ergot on Nardus

There were lots of fungi and I have asked Ern Emmet to look at these two which I think may be Hygrocybe cocccinea

Hygrocybe cocccinea?

and Lycoperdon perlatum

Lycoperdon perlatum?

The birds were the usual mix of buzzards, ravens, rock doves golden plovers etc., but I also had a fine sight of a peregrine.

Pirri-pirri Bur

September 16, 2011

Acaena inermis(Spineless Acaena), one of the pirri-pirri burs, has been known on Raasay since the 1930s. Since 2004 I started to find it on Skye not far from Raasay.  Recently, John Philips reported it from the old road in Sleat some considerable distance from previous records.  Here it is in all its glory:

Acaena inermis in Sleat

More Moths

September 13, 2011

Another go with the moth trap towards the end of August yielded about ten species clearly identified by Brian including

Broad-bordered Yellow Underwing


Square-spot Rustic

I am planning one more go if we get any dry weather in September and then I shall be away for some time…..

Heather Beetle Damage and Solitary Bees

September 2, 2011

I went with Emby to assess the damage done to heather at the north end of Raasay last week, which turns out to be quite extensive.  This year’s attack turns the heather a foxy red colour; plants attacked earlier are just dead:

Heather Beetle Damage on Eilean Tigh

We also found a large colony of the solitary bee Common Colletes (Colletes succinctus) that thrives on heather – another good reason to maintain a healthy heather population in the area.

Wall Lettuce

September 2, 2011

Jackie Parry has sent me details of Mycelis muralis (Wall Lettuce) at Luib where it has grown from a small plant on a wall about five years ago to a number of large plants all over her garden.  Known in the Broadford area for at least 50 years, other records on Skye are very few and far between.