Archive for January, 2013


January 23, 2013

Today I had a try for the Cystopteris diaphana (Diaphanous or Greenish Bladder-fern). No luck. I shall see if I can obtain any further info about where it was found.  However, tetrad NG33N now has 77 species recorded from it rather than 1, and I made a few additions to NG33P.

It is always possible to find something in flower:

Bell Heather

Bell Heather

The moles were very busy:

Mole City

Mole City

though some have opted for the penthouse with sea view:

Mole penthouse suite

Mole penthouse suite

The view across the sea was good, with snow on the distant Cuillins

Cnoc Mhairtein

Cnoc Mhairtein

In terms of locally unusual records I found Galanthus nivalis (Snowdrop) in the cemetery, Ligustrum ovalifolium (Garden Privet) and Cotoneaster horizontalis (Wall Cotoneaster), though obviously none of these is native.

Vole News

January 20, 2013

This fellow has discovered that below the bird feeder is an excellent place to find winter fuel:


It’s freezing out there but he was zooming around and happy to be closely approached – I actually touched him.

New Wood Ants on Skye

January 17, 2013

Roger Cottis reports:

“We have discovered a new species for Skye and it resides in Sleat, which is significant in terms of the Scottish distribution.  There are two species of true wood ants in Scotland and now we have both in Skye, with the most common species the Scottish wood ant Formica aquilonia just to the north of Sleat in the Kinloch and Kyleakin Hills Special Area of Conservation (SAC).  Our new find is the other rarer, at least in West Highland, species Formica lugubris.  A single nest, there may be others in the area, was originally found in 1993 but not reported.”

Wood ants Sleat

Sleat wood ant F. lugubris nest

Lichen (not), Otter Tracks, Snow on Kintail

January 15, 2013

Images from Eyre, Raasay today:


Lichen on Downy Birch

Later, Nick Hodgetts says this is probably a straight fungus rather than a lichen and Dave Genney suggests that it is Stereum rugosum and having had a look at images via Google, that looks good to me. It has been given the name Bleeding Broadleaf Crust and bleeds red when damaged.  Maybe I should check that.  Websites say its habitat is on stumps, logs and fallen branches of deciduous trees, especially hazel, but I found it on live, or at least still upright, downy birch so there may be room for doubt yet. 


Otter Tracks in the Sand

Snow on the Five Sisters

Snow on the Five Sisters

Herbarium at Home Records

January 2, 2013

It was a while since I had looked at Herbarium at Home/Herbaria United.  I have now set up a monthly alert for any additions for VC104.  Quite a lot of specimens have been added since I was last there including a 1938 specimen of Rumex x hybridus (R. longifolius (Northern Dock) x R. obtusifolius (Broad-leaved Dock)).  I  had not previously known of any records for this in the vice-county before my own.  It looks quite close to R. longifolius as though it may have back-crossed with it – and I asked Ian Green to have a look at the image as well, who agrees with this thought.

Otherwise, there are lots of unexceptional specimens plus the usual list of odd things…. Agrostemma githago (Corncockle), Alopecurus bulbosus (Bulbous Foxtail), Carex saxatilis (Russet Sedge), Circaea alpina (Alpine Enchanter’s-nightshade), Cystopteris dickieana (Dickie’s Bladder-fern), Festuca longifolia (Blue Fescue), Juncus compressus (Round-fruited Rush), Linnaea borealis (Twinflower)…….

It is difficult to know what to do with these.  Many are very old records (nineteenth century); many just have Skye for the location, or Sligachan  – which makes it impossible to assign even a 10km square – and it is known that in those days some recorders merely noted where they were staying rather than where the plant was found. Some are probably just plain wrong but the image or the specimen is not good enough to be sure (Alopecurus bulbosus, Circaea alpina, Festuca longifolia, Juncus compressus) but there again….  The origin of some specimens may have become confused over 150 years.

It would be lovely to believe that Linnaea borealis was once on Skye and that it could still be “at the top of Glen Dale”…

I have asked Mike Porter to look at the image of  Carex saxatilis but I suspect an inspection of the specimen itself would be necessary.

Records per Year

January 2, 2013

My database has the following number of records per year over the past ten years:

Year Records
2003 18799
2004 12409
2005 6465
2006 11995
2007 8529
2008 9938
2009 7879
2010 6824
2011 11166
2012 11177

2011 was boosted by the BSBI Field Meeting and 2012 by Steve Terry’s contribution.  I am still short of the  saltmarsh survey records for 2012.