Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Sun 12 Jun 2005

Trollius europaeus   Gymnadenia conopsea

Summer is bursting out in flower.  This Globe Flower and Fragrant Orchid were growing in the same patch of ground at Scorrybreac.

Fomes fomentarius   Eriophyes lissonotus gall on Betula pubescens

The Hoof Fungus, Fomes fomentarius, on Birch.  The fungus must have started growing round the twig on the left while it was still attached to the branch; it's since become broken off and is now held in place by the fungus.  Also on Birch is this leaf gall which I take to be that of the mite Eriophyes lissonotus.

Mon 13 Jun 2005

Saxicola rubetra   Ophioglossum azoricum

Whinchat on Bracken.

Tue 21 Jun 2005

Today we had a Scottish Wildlife Trust walk on Raasay led by Dr Stephen Bungard, the vice-county BSBI recorder.  On the right is one of the species that he was the first to discover on the island, the Small Adderstongue, a tiny fern that grows in short clifftop turf.  The two leaves growing together here are characteristic of this fern and are one way to distinguish it from the ordinary Adderstongue which has leaves arising singly from the ground.

Carex dioica - female   Eriophorum latifolium

Our sedge identification skills were put to the test.  On the left is the Dioecious Sedge, the only Skye sedge to have separate male and female plants.  This is a female.  On the right is Broad-leaved Cotton-grass, looking very similar to the much commoner Narrow-leaved Cotton-grass, but with various differences of which the easiest to spot is the short black glumes, the other having more brownish ones.

Lasiocampa quercus callunae - adult female   Macrothylacia rubi - adult male

Here are a couple of moorland moths that we've previously only had caterpillars of on the site.  A female Northern Eggar and a male Fox Moth.

Agrypnia varia   Cervus elaphus, cast antler

This "moth", which enjoyed landing on people's clothing, was more difficult, and I haven't yet id'd it.  6 years later - have finally realised it's a caddis fly - Agrypnia varia.  Thanks to Ian Wallace for confirming this.

We found these cast Red Deer antlers, which have five points, meaning they come from a ten-point stag.

Lutra lutra - run   Sparganium natans

There were obvious signs of Otters at this freshwater pool close to the shore, and with mammal expert Roger Cottis on hand to interpret them we were able to build up a picture of the life of the Otter family that lived there.  The gap in the heather is the run that the Otters use to enter and leave the pool, which was full of Least Bur-reed, shown on the right.

aLutra lutra - sprainting site   Lutra lutra - holt

On the left is the Otters' sprainting site and on the right is the entrance to their holt, verified as being actually in use by our mammal man.

Sorbus aucuparia - petals in loch   Farewell to Raasay

Rowan petals collecting along the sides of sticks in a loch.  The ramp goes up as the ferry prepares to leave the island.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer