Finding Old Hectad Records

If one analyses plant records for the vice-county by hectad (10km squares of the National Grid), there are a great many plants that have been found in the past but not since 1999 or earlier.

Some of these are errors and many offer no assistance in relocating them e.g. Carex sylvatica (Wood-sedge), NG45, 1950-2005.

A few days ago Roger sent me a record for Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) in Sleat and some images:

Arctostahylos (2)

Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry)    Image: R. Cottis

Previously, the only record for NG60 was a 1967 record at “Allt a’ Cham-aird, NG60”. Unfortunately, as the Allt a’ Cham-aird runs through two tetrads, it has not been possible to allocate a tetrad let alone a monad to this record. Now, with Roger’s record there is both a tetrad and a recent record.

Looking at the distribution map I realised that there were other hectads where a visit might have the same effect – in those cases where a location was given. I always forget that Arctostaphylos is a bit sporadic on Skye, as it is widespread on Raasay. So, on excursions in the past week I have re-found it in NG43 at the far NE corner (Allt Osglan, last recorded 1970) and at the southern edge (Allt Coire Darach, 1986). On the Allt Coire Darach excursion I also re-found Juniper from 1986.

Extending this approach to other species, I found Nymphaea alba (White Water-lily) in NG42 for the first time this millennium – not far from Sligachan. I intend to do this for NG33 next.

There are a great many more species I could approach this way… at least it is keeping me amused until the season is sufficiently advanced to make tetrad-bashing worthwhile. Also, it sends me to spots I haven’t visited before. It is the intermediate species in terms of frequency of occurrence that particularly benefit from this, as rare ones are monitored and common ones are, well, common.

NG42 has a particular problem in that there appear to be very large numbers of species not re-found, but I think this is the result of finds made on Skye but given no grid reference being dumped in this central hectad at some point in the past.

As a special treat here is some sheep dung:

Sheep dropping fungus

with Cheilymenia vitellina or C. fimicola (probably).



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