Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Sun 11 Jul 2004

Mooched around the lower slopes of the Storr area looking for alpines, but the cloud was too low to risk any serious scrambling.  On the way up through the forestry I saw a juvenile Goldcrest on the lower branches of a Spruce.

First a couple of Crucifers from the pinnacles that make up the Old Man of Storr's family.  The Northern Rockcress, left, is abundant in this area, but the Hoary Whitlow-grass, right, is not at all common.  It is easy to recognise from the twisted pods.  It was in a crevice, hence the dark background.

Cardaminopsis petraea   Draba incana

More plants growing out horizontally from the rockface.  Glaucous Meadow-grass and Spiked Woodrush.

Poa glauca   Luzula spicata

Last of the alpines for today is the Mountain Sorrel, below left, and a picture of the habitat where all these plants can be found.

Oxyria digyna   Old Man of Storr

As the mist was closing in I then took the road round the north end of the Storr Lochs and climbed the steps down to Bearraraig Bay.  This makes a pleasant walk with excellent views both out to sea and back towards the Storr.  There were 3 Grey Wagtails around the pools below the Storr Lochs Dam, presumably two parents and a young one, could not see enough detail on all 3 to be sure.

Storr from Bearraraig Bay   Torilis japonica

There are intriguing "hanging woods" on the slopes around Bearraraig.  Some can be seen in the picture on the left, though further round they are steeper than this. (in between the natural woods and the mountains, a conifer plantation can be seen).  I didn't have time to explore the woods, but I was pleased to find a single plant of Upright Hedge Parsley (above right) close to the shore.  This plant is common in most of the UK but rather scarce on Skye.