Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Wed 25 Aug 2004

A Highland Council Ranger walk from Galtrigill to Biod an Athair, the highest cliff on the Skye coast.  It was dry with occasional sunshine as we climbed the hill to the trig point at the top of the cliff, where there was a stiff breeze and fine views across the Minch to the islands of Uist and Barra caped in white cloud.  Photos of these did not come out well, but here is a picture of a free-standing natural arch further round the coast which we visited later.  As usual with these things the picture makes it look small; you have to imagine you are looking down on it from a great height.

Am Famhair natural arch
  Agaricus arvensis possibly

We had good views of Gannets plunge-diving into the waters below us.  The short clifftop turf at Biod an Athair had some of these large whitish mushrooms growing on it.  I think they are the Horse Mushroom, Agaricus arvensis.  The cliff face had many cushions of Moss Campion, now well past flowering, and a couple of spikes of Thyme Broomrape.  There were also occasional Juniper bushes on the cliffs, and at one point we found one inland on rocks beside a burn. 

Autographa gamma   Autographa gamma

We found this Silver Y Moth in the heather; it vibrates its wings like a hummingbird while visiting the flowers.  The picture below left shows it at rest, when it is quite well camouflaged.

Autographa gamma   Coleophora alticolella larval cases on Juncus effusus

Another moth, the Rush Moth, is responsible for these larval cases on the Soft Rush, which are common at this time of year; they are also found on other Rush species.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer