Archive for June, 2015

Insects Like Warmth

June 30, 2015

Today it has actually felt warm and more insects are out. Last night was still wet and windy but I attracted three moths to my moth trap, one of which was very dark and I was not sure what it is but so far the consensus is Brown Rustic:

Today in the garden I found this hoverfly which is a bumble bee mimic:

Murdo tells me it is Merodon equestris, Greater Bulb Fly. My books call it Narcissus Fly or Large Narcissus Fly. It has now been released.

There was a greenbottle too, but I failed to capture it

Leafhoppers in Love and Ostriches

June 30, 2015

Well, leafhoppers in cop anyway:

Eupteryx aurata

Eupteryx aurata

Sometimes called potato leafhoppers and, according to one of my books, sometimes a serious pest of potatoes, these bugs like nettles and that is where I found these two in the garden yesterday.

For the first year in many there is no sign of sawfly damage on the gooseberries – it has been so cold that all insects are suffering.

Meanwhile John has found Matteuccia struthiopteris (Ostrich Fern) on the roadside near Dunvegan Castle from where it has presumably escaped. Looking back in the records I found that Catriona had recorded it from Dunvegan Woods, NG24, in 1976.

Matteuccia struthiopteris at Dunvegan   Photo: J Hawell

Matteuccia struthiopteris at Dunvegan             Photo: J Hawell


June 28, 2015

Ro sent her records form the Rona trip and added three more to the species list for NG66: Fragaria vesca, Lathyrus pratensis and Phegopteris connectilis. A further six are new to NG66F: Asplenium adiantum nigrum, Brachypodium sylvaticum, Hymenophyllum wilsonii, Rumex acetosella, Scutellaria galericulata and Trifolium pratense. She also deserves credit for some of those I listed as new in these categories earlier as she spotted them on the same day.

There was a recent call from HBRG to look out for interesting fungi on leaves of Honeysuckle.  One, Kabatia periclymeni, is regarded as very rare but Murdo found it as soon as he looked for it in Strathpeffer and the first honeysuckle I looked at during my Ollach day turned out to be hosting it:

Probably not rare in the Highlands, then.

Ollach & Gedintailor, Braes

June 25, 2015

I had a few hours in this area today recording in one partial tetrad with no previous records and one with 44 taxa recorded, mostly from Loch Fada, which I did not get to today.

The coast turned out to be lovely and quite rich botanically, though I saw no rarities. Ligusticum scoticum (Scots Lovage) and Prunus spinosa (Blackthorn) were among the more notable species and there was a nice Dactylorhiza fuchsii (Common Spotted-orchid) in wet woodland:

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

Dactylorhiza fuchsii

I also saw my first Small Heath of the year:

Small Heath

Small Heath

The East Coast of Raasay

June 24, 2015

It is a long time since I have walked the coastal path along Raasay’s east coast between Brochel and Fearns. I didn’t do it all yesterday, but did get into five 1 km squares in NG54 and added 38 new 1 km square records covering 28 species.

Before I had got out of my vehicle I noticed a new site for Vulpia bromoides (Squirreltail Fescue), an uncommon grass locally that doesn’t often appear in the same place two years running. This was in the parking area for the walk to Screapadal.

The best addition was of Veronica beccabunga (Brooklime) to NG54,

Old Wych Elm near Screapadal

Old Wych Elm near Screapadal

Just coming into flower:

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This looks like the slime mould Lycogala terrestre – awaiting confirmation. Thanks Ro (see comments).

Skye Plants

June 24, 2015

Bill & Deirdre have found Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade) in large numbers at Fiskavaig where it had first been recorded in 1958, again in 1989, but not since.

Roger & Pat have confirmed an old site for Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid) near Ord and also found other orchids in that area.

John has sent this image of a fern that remains undetermined at present:

Unidentified Fern    Photo: J. Hawell

Unidentified Fern                                Photo: J. Hawell

Steve has sent over 400 June records including Allium schoenoprasum (Chives) from Lusa (new to the vice-county) and Centaurium erythraea (Common Centaury) from Torrin, an area where it has not been recorded since 1971.


June 22, 2015

The HBRG expedition to Rona took place yesterday. I went north from Big Harbour with help from Bill Cowie on a quad bike which meant I was able to spend more time in the far north.

Loch Braig

Loch Braig

From the botanical recording point of view this was an extremely useful day as in the northern hectad, NG66, I was able to convert many older records at the 10km square level into tetrad records and re-find several that had not been recorded since before 2000.

I added six plants that were new to Rona, three in NG65: Carex canescens (White Sedge), Potentilla sterilis (Barren Strawberry), Rhinanthus minor (Yellow-rattle) and three in NG66: Crocosmia x crocosmiiflora (Montbretia),
Geranium molle (Dove’s-foot Crane’s-bill), Myosotis arvensis (Field Forget-me-not).

Additionally, the following nine plants were new to NG66:

Cerastium glomeratum (Sticky Mouse-ear)
Comarum palustre (Marsh Cinquefoil)
Equisetum arvense (Field Horsetail)
Ficaria verna subsp. fertilis (Lesser Celandine) The species but not the subspecies had been recorded before.
Ilex aquifolium (Holly)
Linum catharticum (Fairy Flax)
Pedicularis sylvatica subsp. hibernica. The subspecies had not been recorded before.
Picea sitchensis (Sitka Spruce)
Pinus contorta (Lodgepole Pine)

Other folks who were on the trip have promised me records so there may be more to come…..

Other finds included this fungus which is Vibrissea truncorum (Thanks to Martyn Ainsworth):

Vibrissea truncorum?

Vibrissea truncorum

The lines at the top of the image are 1 mm apart. The nearest record on NBN is from about 30 km to the east in 1955. I shall send my specimen to Kew.

I had an orange fungus day with the above, bog beacons and this, which may be Orange Peel Fungus or, Dave Genney suggests, a species of Octospora:

Aleuria aurantia?

Aleuria aurantia or Octospora sp.?

Otherwise, a Magpie Moth larva dropped on me from an Aspen:

Magpie Moth Larva

Magpie Moth Larva

and there were red deer, seals, otter spraints and a good number of birds.

A Lost & Found Project Club Fungus

June 19, 2015

Multiclavula vernalis (Moss Club) is a distinctive club fungus that could well be in our area.

It is found in peat bogs and wet heathland. Fruit-bodies occur on algal crusts on peat, perhaps together with mosses or sundews (Drosera spp.) and is known from several sites in the Outer Hebrides.

Multiclavula vernalis (1) Photo M. Ainsworth

Multiclavula vernalis (1)                                    Photo M. Ainsworth

Multiclavula vernalis (2)   Photo: M. Ainsworth

Multiclavula vernalis (2)                                    Photo: M. Ainsworth

Do not confuse with the locally common Mitrula paludosa (“Bog Beacon”) with similar coloration, but whose fruitbodies are typically much larger (up to 5 cm) and have a clear differentiation between the bright yellow hymenium and white stem.

Bog Beacon

Bog Beacon                                                             Photo :K. Wall

Rustyback at Suardal

June 19, 2015

Steve has been to check up on the Asplenium ceterach (Rustyback) near the marble quarry and found the same number of plants as I did in 2011 – four, down from seven in 2007.

Asplenium ceterach   Photo: S. Terry

Asplenium ceterach                                                                             Photo: S. Terry

Flowering at Torrin

June 18, 2015

Roger has sent three nice images of plants in flower at Torrin:

Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade)

Neottia ovata (Common Twayblade)          Photo: R. Cottis

Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid)   Photo: R. Cottis

Orchis mascula (Early-purple Orchid)                        Photo: R. Cottis

Trollius europaeus (Globeflower)   Photo: R. Cottis

Trollius europaeus (Globeflower)               Photo: R. Cottis

Everything is so late this year with the cold weather continuing, apparently indefinitely, it is nice to have pictures of plants in flower.