Tuesday, 11 September 2007

Lochain Dubha, Isle of skye - Special Area of Conservation

Lochain Dubha is one of a series of small lochs located between Broadford and Kinloch, just off the A851. This is a Special Area of Conservation because it has undisturbed 'blanket bog', a habitat which has disappeared from much of its former range in the UK as a result of peat extraction, forestry plantings and land drainage. Just as deciduous forests change colour in the autumn, so do peat bogs, and the colours are infinitely more varied and unusual!

lochain dubha

lochain dubha


heather (Calluna vulgaris)
Heather (Calluna vulgaris)

cross leaved heather (Erica tetralix)
Cross-leaved Heather (Erica tetralix)
lesser bladderwort (Urticularia minor)
Lesser Bladderwort (Urtricularia minor)

At first glance, Bladderworts seem like quite inconspicuous, unassuming plants, but under the surface they are methodical and heartless killers! There are a number of carnivorous plants native to the UK and most of them are to be found in bogs. Sundews and Butterworts produce sticky secretions which entice and trap insects but Bladderworts use a completely different mechanism. Water is pumped out of microscopic underwater 'bladders' which creates a vacuum within the bladders. When a Daphnia or similar sized animal bumps into the trigger hair which holds the bladder door closed, the vacuum seal is broken and both water and animal are sucked inside the bladder. Once trapped, the animal will be gradually dissolved by the plant's digestive enzymes.

yellow water lily (Nuphar lutea)
Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea)
yellow water lily (Nuphar lutea)
Yellow Water Lily (Nuphar lutea)

Bright orange Blackening Waxcaps (Hygrocybe conica) are fruiting along the road margins.
Other bog-plants worth noting are: Thyme-leaved Milkwort (Polygala serpyllifolia) and Common Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia).


herring gull (Larus argentatus)
Herring Gull (Larus argentatus) juvenile

This forlorn-looking bird is a young Herring gull (Larus argentatus) that is moulting into adult plumage.

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