‘British soldiers’ at Ardroe 

December 30th 2017

One of the joys about winter walks in Assynt is that, with the dying-back of many ‘higher plants’, other forms of life, such as lichens, come into sharper focus.

A perfect way to illustrate the point is this colourful example of the large genus Cladonia, of which some sixty species are known to occur in the British Isles and at least a third of that number in Assynt.  According to their form they are variously known as ‘reindeer moss’ or ‘pixie cups’, and a sub-set of the latter, with bright red ‘fruits’ (properly apothecia), as ‘British soldiers’.

This specimen was spotted on the exposed peat of an old tree-planting hole at Ardroe (NC0622) and was later identified as an example of the widespread heathland species Cladonia diversa.  It was only a few centimetres across, but stood out against the dark peat and had a jewel-like quality close-up.

Ian Evans

Report a Sighting

Recent Sightings

Common Sandpiper

Two birds near jetty, Culkein Drumbeg (DAH) (18/04)

Red-throated Diver

Two birds calling on Loch Drumbeg (Corinne France) (17/04)

Golden Plover

20 birds over Clachtoll (DAH) (17/04)

Lapwing

Four birds displaying near Clachtoll Broch (DAH) (17/04)

Lesser Redpoll

Two birds feeding on niger seed, Torbreck garden (J. Wright) (17/04)

Siskin

Two birds, Torbreck garden (J. Wright) (16/04)

Ptarmigan

Single bird moulting from winter to summer plumage, west side of Canisp near summit (Anna Church) (16/04)

Willow Warbler

Single bird singing in Nedd garden (Ian Evans). Ian's previous first dates are 10/04/2020, 14/04/2019, 16/04/2018, 14/04/2017 (16/04)

Map