Eilean nan Each

Eilean nan Each (Horse Island) lies off northwest Muck and sits conveniently within a single 1 km square of the National Grid. The island was visited in the 1938 by King’s College, University of Durham (now Newcastle University), in the 1960/70s by the Dobsons who lived on Muck and wrote a flora, by my predecessor as vice-county recorder C W Murray plus two colleagues in 1996 and also by N Taylor in 1996.

However, no records have been made since then until yesterday when I travelled with Nick (bryophytes), Bob (birds) and Roger & Pat (mammals). It is quite floristically rich with several orchid species. We found large numbers of Platanthera bifolia (Lesser Butterfly-orchid) including some pretty robust specimens.

 

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Platanthera bifolia (Lesser Butterfly-orchid)

and added Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid) to the island list

Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid)

Gymnadenia borealis (Heath Fragrant-orchid)

but failed to find the previously recorded Coeloglossum viride (Frog Orchid).

As on other small islands it seems to me that Greylag Geese are changing the vegetation as evidenced by the addition of plants like Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd’s-purse) and Matricaria discoidea (Pineappleweed) to the list.

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Capsella & Matricaria

As usual I recorded some rusts, galls and insects. We had a good selection of butterflies including Painted Ladies and I think this fungus on Caltha palustris (Marsh-marigold) may be Puccinia calthae, with few records on NBN and only one in VC104. I await Bruce’s verdict. Later: He says Puccinia calthicola. (No VC104 records on NBN).

Puccinia calthae maybe

Puccinia calthae maybe

This micro-moth, Keith tells me, is Chrysoteuchia culmella (Garden Grass-Veneer).

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Garden Grass-Veneer

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3 Responses to “Eilean nan Each”

  1. skyeent Says:

    Any tips on telling the difference between greater and lesser butterfly orchid? I’m pretty certain all mine are greater, but they vary so much in size and number of florets I’m not sure…

  2. skyeent Says:

    Just spotted butterfly orchid post – I’ll check that out thanks!

  3. Stephen Says:

    It is actually very simple – though folks do seem to get it wrong quite often. The pollinia – parallel in bifolia (Lesser), divergent in chlorantha (Greater). See e.g. http://www.nhm.ac.uk/content/dam/nhmwww/take-part/Citizenscience/orchid-observers/orchid-observers-id-guide.pdf In passing, on Skye most roadside plants are Greater.

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