Archive for August, 2012

The Meall Odhars and Ben Lee

August 27, 2012

The Sunday before last I visited some unrecorded tetrads and had more fun than I expected. See here. This Sunday I decided to try the next one to the south and its neighbour to the east. The first had only one species recorded in it apart from a few I recorded a week back, Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss), and in fairness it is everywhere – the dominant plant in some areas.  However, it also had a selection of interesting species, some of which unsurprisingly were the same as the previous week’s goodies such as  Alchemilla alpina (Alpine Lady’s-mantle), Saxifraga aizoides (Yellow Saxifrage) and Saxifraga stellaris (Starry Saxifrage).

However, it also had Luzula spicata (Spiked Wood-rush) which is a new 10km square record except for an anonymous undated record that is just given as NG43 (the ten kilometre square). What is more I found a new site for Eriocaulon aquaticum (Pipewort), indeed a new tetrad, but not a new 10 km square record. There were two good clumps in a small moorland pool about 2.8km from the nearest previously known site:

Eriocaulon habitat

Eriocaulon aquaticum

Some pools were covered in the locally common Sparganium angustifolium (Floating Bur-reed):

Sparganium angustifolium

and some in a Potamogeton that is surely just P. polygonifolius (Bog Pondweed) but I have brought a specimen home to check.

Moving east from Meall Odhar Mòr and Meall Odhar Beag took me to Ben Lee which is in a different ten kilometre square, NG53, which is shared with Raasay. Here again were what had become the usual suspects such as Alchemilla alpina  (Alpine Lady’s-mantle),  Diphasiastrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss), Saxifraga aizoides (Yellow Saxifrage) and Saxifraga stellaris (Starry Saxifrage). This last is not known on Raasay. Also there was Saussurea alpina (Alpine Saw-wort) and pleasingly Luzula spicata (Spiked Wood-rush) again, which in this case is a completely new 10km square record for Skye and Raasay.

This specimen was not living up to its name:

“Early Dog-violet”

Plant Medley

August 27, 2012

Gwyn Jones reports a good show of Glebionis segetum (Corn Marigold) at Stenscholl on Skye. We don’t often see Glebionis around here these days except as a casual – though there is a fine population on Muck.

When I was in Dunvegan recently I found a large patch of Calystegia silvatica (Large Bindweed). Whilst C. sepium (Hedge Bindweed) is frequent enough and C. pulchra (Hairy Bindweed) has its strongholds, C. silvatica had no post-1999 records in the vice-county and  only three records localised to better than a 10km square ever. One of the 10km square records was for the square that includes Dunvegan.

Steve Terry is saving up records to submit in a large batch at the end of the season but he has just reported Alliaria petiolata (Garlic Mustard) from Lower Breakish. There is some around the Corry Lodge area of Broadford and a few old records from the Dunvegan and Uig areas, but that is it for the vice-county – except for some growing in a garden on Raasay which it has never seemed appropriate to record formally.

Clan Donald Centre

August 26, 2012

Yesterday we went to the Clan Donald Centre at Armadale and had a walk around the grounds and nature trails that extend into the surrounding countryside.

Raven’s Rock

I spotted Gnaphalium sylvaticum (Heath Cudweed), which had been recorded there before and noticed that they still have a problem in their ponds with Crassula helmsii (New Zealand Pygmyweed also known as Australian Swamp Stonecrop). I first spotted it there in 1996.

Crassula Invasion

Crassula helmsii

Beetle Trap

August 21, 2012

As well as 25 moths,  I caught three of these burying beetles in my moth trap a couple of nights ago, which Richard tells me are Nicrophorus investigator, which I have found before here at home.

Nicrophorus investigator

One of them had what I take to be parasites, and Richard thinks are mites on its underside. Sorry about poor image:


Moor Than

August 20, 2012

A fine Sunday with limited ferries allowed me to visit two tetrads to the east of the road from Sligachan to Portree with no previous records. I was fearful of a really dull day botanically and the first hour in the more southerly tetrad was confirming my fears. However, as I followed a burn southwards into some hills things started to look up. I started to see  Alchemilla alpina (Alpine Lady’s-mantle) and then in the gully of this burn and along the hill to two further burn gullies I found Diphasiatrum alpinum (Alpine Clubmoss)

Diphasiastrum alpinum

Saussurea alpina (Alpine Saw-wort), the first record for this 10km square, Rubus saxatilis (Stone Bramble)

Rubus saxatilis

Thalictrum alpinum (Alpine Meadow-rue), Saxifraga aizoides (Yellow Saxifrage), also a new 10km square record

Saxifraga aizoides

and Saxifraga stellaris (Starry Saxifrage)

Saxifraga stellaris

Back down in the bog I found Carex pauciflora (Few-flowered Sedge), Drosera intermedia (Oblong-leaved Sundew – rarer locally than records suggest IMHO and so seeds checked microscopically), Rhyncospora alba (White Beak-sedge), Utricularia minor (Lesser Bladderwort) in flower. All in all I had such a good time in this tetrad that all I had time for in the second was a quick walk through one corner. This one does not have the hills and generally does not look rich, though a rocky outcrop by a burn did have Rubus saxatilis.

Quarry Update

August 20, 2012

Rita Hardman suggests the Fuchsia may be the  hybrid ‘Genii’ which is bushy, has yellow leaves in the sun and small red and purple flowers.  She and Clive Stace both think the variegated shrub is also a Fuchsia with Rita suggesting F. magellancia  var. variegata which has bright cream-white edged leaves suffused pink, as seen in the quarry specimen.

The sprouting stump remains unidentified. Clive suggests sending a print to Eric Clement, which I shall do unless anyone recognises it soon.

Flora von Deutschland

August 20, 2012

This website is a picture database of German Plants with useful photos of many plants that are also found in the British Isles. I came across it as they have asked to use my images of Equisetum font-queri after spotting one on this blog.

Another Difficult Night

August 18, 2012

So, ignoring all the mackerel and the Conger Eel that I turned into steaks, which of these to eat tonight?


Well, it had to be this beast at a bit over 0.75 kg

Dinner! Stage 1

Dinner! Stage 2

Dinner Stage 3

And the Chilean Viognier was just right.

Raasay House Conifers

August 17, 2012

Some time ago I reported on mature specimens of probable Cupressus macrocarpa (Monterey Cypress) and Thuja occidentalis (Northern White-cedar).  I finally took some specimens and sent them to Cameron Crook who confirms the former but has decided that the latter is in fact Thuja plicata (Western Red-cedar).

The cypress had a cone on it so I was pretty confident of that one before Cameron looked at it.

Monterey cone

SW of Dunvegan

August 17, 2012

After the quarry, I spent several hours in country SW of Dunvegan putting my nose into four tetrads with few records. To these I added 121, 113, 119 and 96 records ranging from Populus tremula (Aspen) in a couple of burn gorges to Juncus ranarius (Frog Rush) in saltmarsh and from Viburnum opulus (Guelder-rose) on  a rocky outcrop by a river to Rhynchospora alba (White Beak-sedge) on the moors.

Murdo subsequently identified this hoverfly as Eristalis intricarius, in one of its many colur morphs:

Eristalis intricarius

Makes a convincing bee-mimic except for the way it flies.