Archive for August, 2015


August 26, 2015

The 10 km square NG42 has rather a lot of poorly recorded tetrads so yesterday I had a canter round two of them – one in the north and one in the south of Glenbrittle.  The northerly one which I had expected to be on the dull side as much of it is given over to conifers turned out well with Salix x ambigua (S. aurita x repens) in a gorge of the Allt a’ Mhaim and a large area of bog with Carex lasiocarpa (Slender Sedge), Carex limosa (Bog-sedge), flowering Utricularia minor (Lesser Bladderwort) and sundews.

Utricularia minor

Utricularia minor

There was a very end-of-season Large Heath clinging on to the vegetation:

Large Heath

Large Heath

I found many of the same bog plants in the southerly tetrad and also three species of Cotoneaster in the roadside gorge of the Allt a’ Choire Ghreadaidh: Cotoneaster bullatus (Hollyberry Cotoneaster), Cotoneaster simonsii (Himalayan Cotoneaster) and the locally rarer but perhaps under-recorded Cotoneaster dielsianus (Diels’ Cotoneaster).

This Straw Dot (Thanks, Keith) was new to me:

Straw Dot

Straw Dot

Purple Fungus

August 26, 2015

When we heading for Preshal Beg Steve spotted an unusual purple club fungus in the grassland that appears by general consensus (iSpot, Dave Genney…) to be Clavaria zollingeri (violet coral or magenta coral):

Clavaria zollingeri

Clavaria zollingeri     Photo S. Terry

Kidney Saxifrage at Gesto

August 26, 2015

Katherine told me that there is Saxifraga hirsuta (Kidney Saxifrage) at Gesto so yesterday I had a look.  There is quite a bit of it across the road from the boundary to the grounds of Gesto House from whence it no doubt originated.

The house, the central core of which may date from circa 1760, is derelict. The Macleods of Gesto settled here in 1425 -see here. It apparently had a fine garden in its heyday but there is no sign now, apart perhaps from some mature trees.

Saxifraga hirsuta at Gesto

Saxifraga hirsuta at Gesto

The only previous records for VC 104 are from Rum. Its presence in the mountains of Rum remains unexplained. It is native to Ireland but alien in Britain.

Atriplex Hybrid

August 24, 2015

John has found Atriplex x gustafssoniana (A. longipes x prostrata) at Edinbane. We do not have A. longipes (Long-stalked Orache) as far as we know in VC104 but John Akeroyd (BSBI Atriplex referee) says “A. longipes, a plant of tall herb communities in saltmarsh-freshwater marsh transitions, is almost never present: the hybridisation events are probably historical and may well involve complex introgressive hybridisation.”

Atriplex x gustafssoniana Note stalked peduncles

Atriplex x gustafssoniana                       Note stalked bracteoles

This is the third known site on Skye and the first record since 1993.

Moth News

August 24, 2015

At Preshal Beg, as well as the Transparent Burnet we had probable Dark Marbled Carpet and several Yellow Shell moths. Since then I put out the moth trap and caught c. 40 moths including two new to my trap:

Moth 21

Gold Spangle

Lesser Swallow Prominent.

Lesser Swallow Prominent

Thanks to Brian & Keith for i.d.s.

Loch na Doireanach & Loch Mhic Charmhiceal, Sleat

August 24, 2015

On Sunday I visited these two lochs in Sleat each in a tetrad with very few records and those that did exist mostly referred to plants in the lochs. They turned out to be even more interesting than the earlier records suggested and I made reasonable plant lists for the two tetrads.

Loch na Doireanach had a wide range of aquatics including Subularia aquatica (Awlwort) and Utricularia intermedia agg. very probably Utricularia stygia (Nordic Bladderwort), the latter with an inflorescence, something I have never seen before. I have sent a specimen to Sarah for her to check the species from the quadrifid hairs in the bladders.

Loch Mhic Charmhiceal still had the Hippuris vulgaris (Mare’s-tail) first spotted by Carl in 2004, but also, notably, Sparganium emersum (Unbranched Bur-reed) with broad, keeled stem leaves and well-separated burs.  There was more presumed Utricularia stygia (Nordic Bladderwort) nearby and six species of dragonflies & damselflies.

I didn’t do well at taking photos i.e. I didn’t take any except this view of the Allt Leth-shithein:

 Allt Leth-shithein

Allt Leth-shithein


Canna in August

August 24, 2015

Saturday was a very useful day on Canna. Peter kindly drove me as far west as Tarbert so that there was plenty of time to reach the far west end of the island. Before this visit tetrads NG20B, C & D had 0, 6 and 0 taxa recorded. Now that reads 33 (not much land), 147 and 2 (almost no land above high water).

We added two species to the Canna list: Rosa caesia subsp. vosagiaca (Glaucous Dog-rose) and Juncus ranarius (Frog Rush) and re-found three that had not been recorded since before 2000: Calystegia sepium (Hedge Bindweed), Carex x fulva (Empty Sedge) and Nasturtium officinale sensu stricto (Water-cress).

Other good finds included Lemna minor (Common Duckweed) and Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape) and it was good to see lots of Anagallis tenella (Bog Pimpernel):

Anagallis tenella on Canna

Anagallis tenella on Canna

The Mainland

August 24, 2015

I had a look at the NTS field at Kirkton that had been seeded with wildflower seed about five years ago and it is looking pretty good. If I had happened across it without knowing the history I would have thought it a reasonably rich meadow. It will be interesting to follow its development.

After that I visited a tetrad in VC105 with no records not far from Lochcarron in a 10 km square that needs more recording before 2020. There were some interesting sedge plants that I initially thought to be hybrids but am now wondering if they have been affected by the partial shade where they are growing:

Carex hyb 01

Carex hyb 02

Expert opinion has been sought……

I also found Vicia sativa subsp. segetalis (Common Vetch), a subspecies never recorded in VC104:

Vicia sativa subsp. segetalis

Vicia sativa subsp. segetalis

and perhaps less welcome, Cotoneaster horizontalis (Wall Cotoneaster):

Cotoneaster horizontalis

Cotoneaster horizontalis

Preshal Beg

August 20, 2015

The Skye Botany Group excursion to Preshal Beg on one of the best days for weather this year added Dryopteris oreades (Mountain Male-fern) and Juncus x kern-reichgeltii (J. conglomeratus x effusus) to the list for the 10km square NG32 and re-found nine species not recorded in that hectad since before 2000:

Antennaria dioica (Mountain Everlasting)

Avenula pubescens (Downy Oat-grass)

Carex canescens (White Sedge)

Carex lasiocarpa (Slender Sedge)

Carex lepidocarpa (Long-stalked Yellow-sedge)

Dryopteris aemula (Hay-scented Buckler-fern)

Gentianella campestris (Field Gentian)

Juniperus communis subsp. nana (Dwarf Juniper)

Koeleria macrantha (Crested Hair-grass)

Despite being basalt, Preshal Beg itself was disappointing with nothing more exciting than Thalictrum alpinum (Alpine Meadow-rue)

Basalt Columns

Basalt Columns

but there was Subularia aquatica (Awlwort) in the nearby loch and we did well for insects in a year that has not been good for them so far.

Transparent Burnet

Transparent Burnet

On the way back to the car in NG33 we made the second recent record for Rubus laciniatus (Cut-leaved Bramble) – see here – not a new hectad record though, as Linda’s plants near Ullinish are also in NG33.

Recent Finds

August 13, 2015

Jessie has found Hammarbya paludosa (Bog Orchid) in a new tetrad on Rum, only the second post-1999 Rum record:


Hammarbya paludosa           Photo: J. Wormell

Steve spotted Acaena inermis (Spineless Acaena) in Sleat near where John had it four years ago:

Acaena inermis

Acaena inermis       Photo: S. Terry

John also has a new find, Rubus laciniatus (Cut-leaved Bramble) at Sligachan:

Rubus laciniatus   Photo J. Phillips

Rubus laciniatus Photo J. Phillips

Meanwhile, up Dun Caan with the family we found this club fungus, Clavaria fragilis, known as fairy fingers, white worm coral, or white spindles:

Clavaria fragilis

Clavaria fragilis