Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Thu 5 May 2005

Just back from this year's holiday in Mallorca.  As with last year, it will take me a long time to sort out all the Mallorca photos, and in the meantime I'll just carry on with the local Nature Diary as normal.

Allium paradoxum   Acanthis flavirostris

In Inverness on the way back from Mallorca I noticed this early-flowering garlic which I take to be the Few-flowered Garlic, Allium paradoxum.  It has mostly bulbils in the flowerhead, but a few long-stalked flowers, which were past flowering at the time I found it.  There were several plants on the banks of the Ness; I hadn't noticed them before but that doesn't mean they weren't there.  It is an introduced plant, spreading quite rapidly across the country.

Fri 6 May 2005

A small party of Twite was foraging on the lawn outside my window.  This one is pecking at a Dandelion seed-head.

Mon 9 May 2005

Allium ursinum   Lathyrus montanus

You'd expect it to seem very cold in Skye after Mallorca, but everyone tells me that it really is.  A vigorous breeze made it feel even colder.  There is a fine selection of Spring flowers to be seen in Scorrybreac just now.  The Bluebells are out in numbers but their frequent companion plant, the Wild Garlic, above left, is just beginning to show in some of the more favoured spots.  The Bitter Vetch, on the right, is in full flower, along with Wild Strawberry, Greater Stitchwort, Cuckoo Flower, Bugle, Lady's Mantle and Early Purple Orchid.  Plants which, like the Wild Garlic, are just beginning to flower include Birdsfoot Trefoil, Bush Vetch, Water Avens, Tormentil and Creeping Buttercup.

Endymion non-scriptus, pale blue variety   Arianta arbustorum

White Bluebells are often met with but these pale blue ones are a less common variation.  This Copse Snail was enjoying the lush new vegetation.

Uromyces dactylidis   Uromyces dactylidis

First gall I've found on this year's growth.  It is on Lesser Celandine and is caused by the rust fungus Uromyces dactylidis.  The fungus at this stage consists of small orange cups, as seen in the second picture showing the underside of the leaf.  One of the two galled areas was covered with something looking like Cuckoo Spit, although it seems rather early for it.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer