Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Tue 22 Jun 2004

Back to Raasay again for a Scottish Wildlife Trust walk in the Oskaig area, which looks like this:

Oskaig Bay, Raasay, with view across to Skye

We started off looking at the flora of some cultivated fields, and soon found Wild Pansy (below, left) which was on a list of plants that we'd been given to look out for, as it had been previously recorded in the area but not seen recently.

Viola tricolor   Juncus ambiguus

There was an area of saltmarsh between the fields and the shore, and we investigated this thoroughly and also the flora of the shingle beach.  Frog Rush (above right) was noted among stones just above the high tide mark.

This Oystercatcher (below left) clearly had a nest in the vicinity and warned us with shrill calls to stay away from it.  Photo taken at long range.  Painted Lady butterflies were very numerous on the cliffs where Wild Thyme grew, as in the picture below right.  A Meadow Brown was also seen.

Haematopus ostralegus   Cynthia cardui on Thymus polytrichus

We walked south from Oskaig towards Clachan and noted some interesting vegetation along the way, including Parsley Fern on a wall (below, left) the first time I've seen it at such a low altitude and on a human-made habitat, but there were natural screes just above from which it doubtless originated.

Cryptogramma crispa   Arenaria balearica

Another wall and rock plant that grows in this area is Balearic Sandwort, above right, notable for its minute leaves and relatively large flowers on long slender stems.  It is not a native plant but has been well naturalised in this part of Raasay for a long time.

Fri 25 Jun 2004

Just a quick peek out the back to catch the evening sun before it goes down.

Lychnis flos-cuculi   Deschampsia cespitosa

Ragged Robin complete with Cuckoo Spit (more appropriate to its Latin name than its English one), and Tufted Hair-grass in the slanting sunlight with the background in shadow.

Poa trivialis   Festuca vivipara

A couple more grasses while we're at it.  Rough Meadow-grass on the left and Viviparous Fescue on the right.

Dactylorhiza maculata ssp ericetorum   Dactylorhiza purpurella

This Heath Spotted Orchid, above left, was unusually dark, and beautifully marked.  There were hundreds of these about, most much paler and some with a pure white base colour.  On the right is the Northern Marsh Orchid, which is always dark purple.

Platanthera chlorantha   Platanthera chlorantha

Noticed this Greater Butterfly Orchid when I was nearly home.  In the close-up you can see how it differs from the Lesser Butterfly Orchid which we had on 21 June.  The green pollinia just beneath the hood are wide apart whereas in the Lesser they are close together.