Archive for June, 2021

It had to be there

June 27, 2021

Triglochin palustris (Marsh Arrowgrass) is a fairly common plant locally, found in many stretches of wet ground. By the end of recording for Atlas 2020 the only 10 km square from which there were no recent records was NG42 in the centre of Skye. NG42 is one of only two hectads in the vice-county with >99% land/freshwater. A couple of pre-2000 records were too vague to refind, the grid references being just “NG42”, which covers nearly 100 km2. Towards the end of the Atlas recording, I was actively looking for it when in that area.

Triglochin palustris

Yesterday, with no such thoughts in mind, I fell over a single plant in Coire na Creiche – see image on left.

Otherwise, the highlights were a couple of micromoths – not uncommon, but nice to add to the list of of ones I have a chance of recognising another time.

Late June

June 25, 2021

By far the most exciting find was by Lynn, who has dicovered a new site for Arabis alpina in a new tetrad (the third ever) and about 1.5 km from the nearest previously known site.

Arabis alpina at its new station

In the moth arena I have successfully reared another Argyroploce arbutella (Bearberry Marble) this time from Skye rather than Raasay, added Nemapogon cloacella (Cork Moth) to my home list and today found Apotomis sororculana (Narrow-winged Marble) on Raasay, only the second or third VC104 record.

Some Difficult Specimens

June 11, 2021

Yesterday was pretty wet and windy but in a short dry interlude I walked a stretch of the nearby Arish Burn. One plant of Angelica sylvestris (Wild Angelica) was covered in a downy mildew which I didn’t expect to identify but it turns out that it was not difficult. It is Plasmopara angelicae, descibed by Ray Woods as “widespread but not at all common”.

Plasmopara angelicae on Angelica sylvestris

The day before, I found this little barkfly in the garden. It is a Mesopsocus sp. and I have sent it away for expert determination.

Mesopsocus sp

And before that, on Ben Chracaig near Portree, I spotted several items whose identity may never be resolved. This fungus on Rosa caesia subsp. vosagiaca (Glaucous Dog-rose) is probably Phragmidium mucronatum or P. tuberculatum: but even microscopically they are tricky to tell apart.

Phragmidium tuberculatum/mucronatum

This mine on Teucrium scorodonia (Wood Sage) is caused by a beetle of the genus Apteropeda. However, the larva had gone and it could be A. globosa or A. orbiculata as both use this plant as host. According to bladmineerders re the former “As far as known neither mine nor larva can be discriminated from that of related species. A. globosa is much less polyphagous than orbiculata” but Teucrium is a known host.

Mine on Teucrium scorodonia

And finally, the jury is out on what causes this on Centaurea nigra (Common Knapweed). I shall go back and open up one of the “galls” if that is what they are, and see what I can see.

Centaurea nigra “galls”

Early June

June 9, 2021

A trip up Beinn Edra with Neil, Seth and two of his friends allowed us to show them, and refresh records for, Epilobium alsinifolium (Chickweed Willowherb), Gnaphalium supinum (Dwarf Cudweed), Juncus triglumis (Three-flowered Rush), Koenigia islandica (Iceland-purslane), Salix herbacea (Dwarf Willow) and Sibbaldia procumbens (Sibbaldia).

Steve has been productive in the Broadford area with the first vice-county record of Buddleja globosa (Orange-ball-tree) and the second for Ornithogalum umbellatum (Star-of-Bethlehem), while Seth has the third VC record for Viola x wittrockiana (Garden Pansy).

Neil, Debbie and I went to investigate the clumping of leaves on Acer platanoides (Norway Maple) in a garden at Dunan, but this was inconclusive, so we walked a stretch of the Broadford River. We found second VC records for Euphorbia griffithii (Griffith’s Spurge) and Rodgersia podophylla (Rodgersia). The previous records for both are near Armadale Castle and both are grown within those grounds. There are lots of garden escapes/throw-outs/planted species between the Broadford River and the road including at least one I must go back for when it is in flower.

Back in April I collected a sample of Arctostaphylos uva-ursi (Bearberry) where some leaves had been spun together and a few days ago I discovered that I have successfully reared Argyroploce arbutella (Bearberry Marble). The only previous record in the vice-county was from 1937, which I dug out of the literature a couple of years ago and sent to the County Moth Recorder. Like this one, that was from Raasay, though over 9 km away to the south.

I also have a determination for a Long-horn Moth from the garden in May: Nematopogon schwarziellus (Sandy Long-horn), a first for the vice-county. The arrow shows the pale tornal spot typical of schwarziellus.

Nematopogon schwarziellus (Sandy Long-horn)
Nematopogon schwarziellus (Sandy Long-horn)

As ever, I am grateful to Nigel Richards for identifying micro-moths for me.

Actually, Make that Six

June 2, 2021

I had another look at images of this moth from the same period as those shown in my last post:

Udea decrepitalis

I realised it looked like Udea decrepitalis (Scotch Pearl) and this was confirmed by Mark Young. Another local rarity!