|Everyone looking down - definitely a botany group|
Orchids were just coming into flower. Many of the Heath Spotted orchids were pure white, with uncharacteristically narrow, unspotted leaves. Indeed the only reliable characters were the shape of the flower and in particular the fan shaped labellum, and weakly keeled leaves.
We saw the first Northern marsh orchid that any of us had seen this season, while there were also the first cohort of Early marsh orchids. On the croft 37 are in flower so far.
Certainly a highlight was Wood Bitter-vetch growing in an almost inaccessible place on the cliffs above the sea, facing south east. There is an excellent species account (Species account - Vicia orobus) on the BSBI website, prepared by Kevin Walker and Pete Stroh. This is a plant that is uncommon with few records on Skye. It might be more widespread but because of its preferred cliff habitat it is far from easy to find, and the cliffs to the east of where we found it might contain more plants; another day maybe.
Nearby there was a one very small Heath spotted orchid with the flowers upside down which is an unusual aberration in orchids, but not unknown. In some species such as Bog orchid all the flowers look the 'wrong way' up.
with their paler colouring (those we had on the croft were brighter and would be on passage to Iceland and Greenland), Cuckoos and Common sandpipers.
There were numerous day flying moths such as Common Heath but also this micromoth which one of the members of the Skye Moth Group on Facebook suggests is Clepsis senecionana. (Skye Moth Group)
There are four or five places on Skye that are 'must see'. Rubha an Dunain is one, with unrivalled archaeology allied to the chance of seeing some really interesting wildlife. Oddly though, despite the seclusion and heavy sprainting here and there, we did not see any otters.
On the way there I stopped at the bottom of Loch Ainort where the pilot whales remain and have now been there for over a week. Whilst there is probably plenty of fish there usually, because it is a good place to see seals, it is very shallow and slopes gradually. I have no idea whether any moves are afoot to encourage the whales to a more convivial place.