Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Fri 30 Jun 2006 moorland behind Geary, Waternish.

Cladonia uncialis   Unknown yellow and black Mosses

The lichen Cladonia uncialis, which always seems to grow with this type of moss, but I don't know what the moss is.  On the right are striking patches of black and yellow moss, but again I don't know what they are.

Omphalina philonotis or O sphagnicola   Possibly Galerina sphagnorum

Both these types of mushroom were found several times in Sphagnum.  It's a pity that nowhere does there seem to be any kind of guide to mushrooms by habitat.  I worked out that the first is Omphalina philonotis or its close relative O sphagnicola (regarded by some as a form of O philonotis).  The second is common in Sphagnum everywhere, it may be Galerina sphagnorum.  Thanks to Jason Hollinger for this suggestion.

Driving back from Geary, a hare bounded across the road in front of me, the first I'd seen on Skye for several years.

Evening, Portree

Bufo bufo, young   Bufo bufo, young

In Spring the mass migration of adult toads to the Portree Millpond is very noticeable, but much less conspicuous is the reverse process in summer when thousands of tiny toads leave the pond for a life on land.

Sat 1 Jul 2006 Ardnish

Platanthera bifolia   Carex nigra, odd form with terminal spikes female

The Lesser Butterfly Orchid is currently receiving a lot of publicity owing to the SNH campaign to arrest its decline.  Anybody who spots one is invited to record their find on the SNH website.  They are plentiful at Ardnish, scattered over a wide area which includes both heathy and grassy habitats.  I have recorded this population on the SNH site, estimating the number at 100.

Sun 2 Jul 2006 Ardnish

On the right above is an odd sedge which I found at Ardnish.  There are about 80 fruiting stems of it in a small area of boggy ditch, and they all have all their spikes, including the terminal one, female.  (Writing later) I've sent specimens of this to two of the country's top sedge experts and they both agree that it must be a very unusual form of the Common Sedge, Carex nigra.  This species normally has the terminal spike male and the pale female glume midrib very narrow (here it is very wide), with the green fruits only shortly exceeding the black glumes.  On these plants most of the fruits were unfertilised, but some had a nut inside.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer