Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Skye - Fifty Shades of Green

Quick blast into the square today between rainbursts. The tide was mostly in but I had a look across the top of the beach anyway. I could see a long line of yucky white gunk along the water's edge and headed off to investigate. Nothing to worry about, it was just spume. The only object that caught my attention on the beach was this rather lovely razor shell covered in the calcified tubes of Spirobranchus triqueter. Despite dunking them into the sea I failed to see any sign of the worms inside, hence they aren't added to my tally (yet...)

Triangular in cross-section with a sharp 'spike' above the mouth of the tube
Leaving the beach I headed into the woods and discovered a large pile of rocks behind the community hall car park. I had a search under several rocks finding plenty of slugs including a single Worm Slug Boettgerilla pallens and several Budapest Slugs Tandonia budapestensis complete with accompanying 'slug mites' scurrying across them. It has recently been discovered that the mites on slugs are a different species than was first thought. In Britain (and across much of Europe) they have proved to be Riccardoella oudemansi and not Riccardoella limacum as was assumed. According to the brilliant FSC Slugs of Britain & Ireland Budapest Slugs have not been recorded from northern Skye before, in fact there's just one dot on the map for Skye as a whole. But it is a successfully expanding species (much to the dismay of farmers and gardeners, this really is a pest species!) so I'm not at all surprised to find them in Uig. Worm Slug was only discovered on Skye in the early 2000s (and only discovered in Britain in 1972) so it's done well to move this far in little over 40 years. There was also a single Tramp Slug Deroceras invadens beneath the stones. 
This is the pile of rocks in question. Doubtless I shall come here again (and again...and again...)
As you can see, the woodland floor is starting to burst into life with thousands upon thousands of seedlings thrusting through. Give it another month and I'll be able to start identifying them! Actually I can do a few, even at this stage. Ground Elder is most evident in the above image, but there's a Dandelion and some Cow Parsley in there too. 

Common Nettle, a nice easy one! Here amongst Cow Parsley and Ground-ivy
Big clump of Montbretia growing by the woodland stream
A few Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage are in flower already
Naturalised (or maybe fully wild?) Daffodil clump

Seeing as it had been raining and the lichens were looking at their best, I visited the Lobaria virens tree. Yep, no getting away from it, this looks pretty damn amazing when wet! This is without flash or image manipulation
Lobaria virens - translates literally as "the Green Lobaria"
 And with that I've run out of greens. I didn't find any lifers out there today, or at least none that I could identify, but it was good just to get out into the woods despite the buffeting wind and ever present threat of a drenching.
347 - Kindbergia praelonga (moss)
348 - Douglas Fir (plant - naturalised seedlings)
349 - Tadonia budapestensis - Budapest Slug (mollusc)
350 - Deroceras invadens - Tramp Slug (mollusc)
351 -  Riccardoella oudemansi - Slug Mite (arachnid)

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm ... slug mite ... that seems like something I should be looking out for