Quinag Wildlife Project – Information Sources
1. Introduction: this is a very preliminary list of possible sources of information about the landscape and wildlife of Quinag. Please inform us of others known to you.
Mammals: records since 1991 are included in the 5000 or so compiled by IME and submitted to the HBRG; those and subsequent ones relating to Quinag form part of the Assynt Archive held by the AFC. Species of particular interest include: mountain hare, pine marten and water vole (research headed up by Professor Xavier Lambin, School of Biological Sciences, Aberdeen University; we have a Research Bulletin for 2018 with details of the Quinag population). Records of small mammals other than field voles are sparse.
Bird records: there was a long-standing BTO Breeding Bird Survey in NC1730, the major part of which is on JMT land, and JMT has its own survey data. Species of particular interest include black-throated diver, golden eagle, merlin, greenshank, ptarmigan and ring ouzel.
Reptiles and amphibians: all six Assynt species occur, i.e. adder, common lizard, slow-worm, common frog, common toad and palmate newt. There are known breeding sites for all the amphibians; the records require consolidating.
Fish: WSFT have survey records for at least six species from watercourses flowing into Loch Assynt, possibly also from the loch itself? Species of particular interest include atlantic salmon and arctic char.
Freshwater invertebrates: see the Quinag Loch Survey by Gwen Richards (2010), on the AFC web-site. There may be other information from Loch Assynt.
Insects: records of dragonflies, grasshoppers, beetles, butterflies and moths, flies, ants and bumblebees are known to exist, but require consolidating. Stephen Moran (HBRG) may have further information on bugs and lacewings. Species of interest include the montane carabid beetle Nebria nivalis and the large heath butterfly.
Other invertebrates: there are records of molluscs, spiders and woodlice, which require consolidating, and possibly ones of other groups.
4. Fungi: there are scattered records, which require consolidating; John Blunt’s Assynt records, held by the AFC, would be the first place to look.
5. Lichens: Dr Tony Fletcher has listed sites in at least seven tetrads on Quinag in his visits to Assynt since 1995; IME holds copies of his field records. A species of particular interest is Lasallia pustulata, known from few other locations in West Sutherland; the site on Quinag was re-visited by IME and GR on 16/11/2019.
6. Algae: there are records of desmids by David Williamson, copies of which are held by IME. There may also be records of diatoms and other microscopic algae from Loch Assynt.
7. Bryophytes: the BBS held a field excursion to the north side of Sail Gorm on 31/7/1992, since when Gordon Rothero has surveyed at least 14 tetrads on Quinag. His records are all computerised; IME has copies of his field sheets and a summary map of his visits. There are also localised records by Ben and Alison Averis in the report of their NVC survey (2007). Species of particular interest include Arctoa fulvella, Campylopus setifolius, Campylopus shawii (new site in 2018).
8. Higher plants: detailed records for the 15 tetrads which cover Quinag are amongst those that were compiled by PAE and IME during 1988-2001 for the Flora of Assynt (2002); these require extraction from the BSBI national database. There are later additions from east of Torgawn and the south side of the hill; all are computerised.
The NVC survey undertaken by Ben and Alison Averis (2007) contains detailed information on plant communities, higher plants and bryophytes. Their target notes for higher plants have recently been computerised and uploaded to the BSBI national database; IME holds a copy. Species of particular interest include the parsley fern Cryptogramma crispa in one of only two localities in West Sutherland.
9. Landscape and geology: we have not yet started compiling information on this aspect.
10. Further general information, illustrated with photographs, is held locally in the form of articles on JMT walks since 2010, on the AFC web-site (see list), and in Chris Puddephatt’s recent photographic survey of the hill . JMT presumably holds more information centrally.
I.M.Evans (Calltuinn, Nedd, Drumbeg by Lairg, Sutherland, IV27 4NN; 01571 833241)
Recorder for Assynt Field Club
BSBI VCR for West Sutherland (vc.108)