Clashnessie Miscellany

July 6th 2024

Clashnessie Miscellany

On the morning of 1st June 2024, we had the pleasure of exploring, with Martin and Jane Davies, parts of their croft at Clashnessie (NC0530), making a preliminary list of its plant-life.  We only managed to cover half the area but still logged a good range of species, 125 in all.

Amongst the highlights was a small tributary burn adjacent to a mafic dyke in the Lewisian gneiss.  This yielded predictable but patchy species such as black bog-rush, few-flowered club-rush and tawny sedge along the burn itself, with mountain everlasting, pill sedge and our first heath fragrant orchid of the season on the adjacent rock outcrop.

Elsewhere, on a dry bank, we found an unusually large patch of heath speedwell (photos 1-2).  This is a widespread plant in Assynt, with creeping and rooting stems that form mats, hairy leaves and racemes of small lilac flowers.

Assorted animal life noted included small heath and small pearl-bordered fritillary butterflies, the micro-moth Anania fuscalis whose larvae feed on yellow rattle, a common carder bee Bombus pascuorum, several frogs, two cuckoos flying over pursued by meadow pipits, field vole burrows and mole hills.

In a sheltered hollow on the croft, protected from the prevailing winds, there is a polytunnel, fruit cage and productive vegetable patch (photo 3).   The polytunnel had some interesting ‘weeds’, including bog stitchwort, but it was the adjacent potato patch (photo 4) which provided the surprise of the day.  On its well-manured ridges we found conspicuous crowded groups of a large buff-coloured cup fungus (photo 5).

Cup fungus identified

The genus Peziza, to which we thought it might belong, is a large one, with over 50 species in the British Isles, and their naming requires expertise well beyond ours.  So, we took a small sample down to Bruce Ing and he has since identified it as the blistered cup Peziza vesiculosa.

This is typically found ‘in tight fused clusters on straw, manure, compost and rich soil’.   NBN has only three records from the North West.  They are all by John Blunt, and comprise just one from Assynt, at Nedd (NC1332), and two further north, at Scourie (NC1544) and Blairmore (NC1960).  All are associated with dung or manure.

Ian M. Evans and Gwen Richards

All photos by the authors

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Recent Sightings

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Common Dolphin

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RInged Plover

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