Macleod’s Maidens and Beyond

Macleod's Maidens LR

Macleod’s Maidens

It is a fair old walk out to Macleod’s Maidens but Joanna and Julian were determined to get to tetrad NG23I which lies beyond this impressive group of sea stacks. Nick and I joined them on Thursday on what turned out to be the best weather of the week.

Previously there was a single record in the database for NG23I – Silene acaulis (Moss Campion) in 1990.  There was plenty of that:

Silene acaulis LR

Silene acaulis

but also we spotted nearly 50 specimens of Orobanche alba (Thyme Broomrape) and a few Carlina vulgaris (Carline Thistle):

Overall we recorded 132 taxa which was pretty good going given we could not get down to the shore and there is no woodland or body of fresh water.  Nick recorded over 80 bryophytes, which is unexciting but again pretty good considering the range of habitats.

On the way I spotted Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush), a first for Skye, though known on Raasay, Rona and Rum.

Juncus foliosus

Juncus foliosus (Leafy Rush)

 

 

As well as broader leaves compared with J. bufonius (Toad Rush), J. foliosus has tepals with dark lines either side of the midrib.

It was a great day for insects, with many butterflies and moths

Chminey Sweepers

Chimney Sweepers on Trifolium repens

and I found the rust Melampsora lini growing on Linum catharticum (Fairy Flax).

Melampsora lini

Melampsora lini on Linum catharticum

There was also Nicrophorus vespilloides, the Sexton Beetle with black clubs on its antennae.

Nicrophorus vespilloides

Nicrophorus vespilloides – with added mites

On Friday morning Joanna and Julian joined me for a quick look at the tiny bit of land on Harlosh Point in NG24Q. We found 48 taxa in this tiny coastal strip including Carex distans (Distant Sedge), Cerastium diffusum (Sea Mouse-ear) and Galium verum (Lady’s Bedstraw).

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