Aird Ghunail and Knock, Sleat

Yesterday was a bit damp but the forecast for the following few days was a great deal worse – and today has confirmed that forecast so far.  So, less prepared than usual in terms of having checked known records in advance, I headed for a few hours in coastal areas of Sleat.

Aird Ghunail is near Camus Croise and has an old record of Ophioglossum vulgatum (Adder’s-tongue) on the south side. I failed to find it but the hazel woods at the base of south-facing cliffs are well ahead of many areas in terms of plants being in flower:






In the salt marsh  there was Salicornia (Glasswort), Carex extensa (Long-bracted Sedge) and on the shore Carex nigra (Common Sedge) in flower:

Carex nigra

Carex nigra

whilst a rocky outcrop had several plants of Ligusticum scoticum (Scots Lovage).

I then headed farther down the Sleat peninsula to Knock hoping to spot Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid) reported from that area in 1970.  Again I failed but there was plenty of suitable looking sea cliff, a common habitat for the orchid locally, and I didn’t have time to look at very much of it. Knock Castle had Geranium molle (Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill) and Erophila glabrecens (Glabrous Whitlowgrass).  Castles and Duns seem to be the favoured habitat for the crane’s-bill on Skye.

Knock Castle - with ivy

Knock Castle – with ivy

Knock Castle

Knock Castle

I hadn’t registered in advance that I was in an area where Glechoma hederacea (Ground-ivy) had been recorded – again in 1970.  That was from the roadside but yesterday I spotted it under gorse on the shore.

Aliens noted included Persicaria bistorta (Common Bistort) which appears to be increasing on road- and track-sides, Spiraea x pseudosalicifolia (Confused Bridewort) and Fallopia japonica (Japanese Knotweed)


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