Canna & Sanday

The current ferry timetable allows eight hours on Canna on a Saturday. So this weekend I took advantage of that and got good weather for six of the eight hours.

I spent most of the time on Sanday as, inspired by my recent week on North Uist, I wanted to look for early annuals on the sand dunes. That part was pretty unsuccessful as I didn’t even manage to re-find a 2001 record for Valerianella locusta (Common Cornsalad) and found none of the others I had half a hope for. There is still no record for Erophila on Canna.

Anyway, first I had to get from the ferry to Sanday and I had a look in Canna House garden where I found Ficaria verna subsp. verna (Lesser Celandine – the one with bulbils in the leaf axils). This is new to Canna and follows the pattern elsewhere in the vice-county of being in or near a big house garden. Arabidopsis thaliana (Thale Cress) was also new to Canna.

The Beta vulgaris subsp. maritima (Sea Beet) that I found in 2009 has increased from 3 plants to 5. I have told NTS about it as it is just by their office and they are in a position to make sure that it is not suddenly bulldozed away.

Although the sand dunes were generally disappointing, the Ranunculus bulbosus (Bulbous Buttercup) was beginning to flower.

Ranunculus bulbosus        Note reflexed sepals

Ranunculus bulbosus                      Note reflexed sepals

Elsewhere the Mertensia maritima (Oysterplant) was also beginning to flower and one patch comprised a very healthy 60 plants.

Mertensia Sanday

Mertensia maritima

The overgrown lochan An t-Oban contained its usual goodies including most of VC 104’s Hypericum elodes (Marsh St John’s-wort) and the western end of Sanday had a great many flowering Scilla verna (Spring Squill) and Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid):

.Orchis mascula Sanday Scilla verna Canna

The dunes had lots of snails that appear to be Cornu aspersum, the Garden Snail. I was slightly surprised by this and brought a couple of empty shells home to check but that seems to be right and I find that at least in Ireland they are “Commonest in gardens and on sand dunes at the coast.” At least according to NBN, this will be a new record for NG20 post-1999.

On Canna I spotted the usual galls on thyme and rust on nettles.

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