Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Sat 29 May 2004

Just a very brief stroll out the back this evening.  Got quite close to this Meadow Pipit.

Anthus pratensis   Puccinia urticata on Urtica dioica

Got even closer to this nettle gall.  It is caused by a rust fungus, Puccinia urticata.  The galled part of the leaf is purplish, with orange fruit-bodies like those of lichens.  It was producing copious orange spores at the time I found it.

Carex panicea   Carex panicea

The Carnation-grass is now looking very beautiful.  The left-hand picture shows a male spike at the top left and a female spike lower down on the right.  The fruits are already swollen though not yet full size.  The right-hand picture shows a younger male spike on a plant whose female spikes have hardly emerged.  When you add in the striking effect of the pale blue leaves in summer, this is a very colourful sedge.

Sun 30 May 2004

To the woods first.  In deep shade the Sanicle is now in flower, and  in partially shaded areas the Globe Flower.

Sanicula europaea   Trollius europaeus

On the river gravel a great many attractive plants have come into flower.  Here are the Kidney Vetch and the Wild Thyme (with fallen Downy Birch catkins)

Anthyllis vulneraria   Thymus polytrichus

The Common Milkwort, below left, is a totally prostrate plant on this open gravel.  It is mostly plants of dry ground that like this habitat, but where water from the hill crosses the gravel to join the river, there is an abundance of the tiny plant Blinks, whose flower is shown in close-up below right.  It is an unusual flower with three small petals each having a stamen attached, and two "large" petals without a stamen - but the whole flower is very tiny and easily overlooked.

Polygala vulgaris   Montia fontana

This male Common Blue Damselfly was enjoying the sunshine, but the insect on the right preferred the shade of the woods.  I haven't id'd it yet, but Daddy-long-legs comes to mind.

Enallagma cyathigerum   Insect

On the left below, a Meadowsweet gall caused by the rust fungus Triphragmium ulmariae.  Like yesterday's nettle gall, it was giving off copious orange spores.  On the right, the seedhead of Marsh Marigold.

Triphragmium ulmariae   Caltha palustris

Finally here's a little spider that walks on water.  I think it is a Pirata species.

Pirata sp?