Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)

Sat 23 Oct 2004 Scorrybreac.

Hygrocybe conica   Hygrocybe conica

This is the Blackening Waxcap, Hygrocybe conica (s.l.).  The stem is beautifully translucent and very smooth with vertical veins.  Gills and stem flesh washed-out lemon, cap flesh rich amber.  Gills free from the stem.  In ungrazed grassy mossy area next to path.  Also saw H chlorophana, H calyptriformis and a presumed though rather diminutive H coccinea, all of which we've already had on the site.

Unknown dark-spored brown sticky mushroom   Unknown dark-spored brown sticky mushroom

This one was growing in grazed turf with the Hygrocybe Calyptriformis.  Cap very sticky, sticks to fingers.  Spores very dark brown.  ID unknown.

Fossils   Unknown pale green caterpillar

I know less about fossils than anyone alive, but I think that's what these must be.  There were plenty more on the same rock, they look like razor fish except that they have a sharp notch in one end.  The pale green caterpillar is another one for my unidentified list.  Definitely a moth or butterfly caterpillar, not a sawfly larva.  It was crossing a path in grazed grassland.

Phalacrocorax aristotelis

Shags.  There were allso several feeding at sea.  They poke their head down into the water to see what's there, then splash the water surface with their wings like a sparrow in a bird bath, then poke their bill into the water again and catch their prey.

Sat 30 Oct 2004

Scorrybreac again.  Lots of small birds flitting about the trees and bushes now, robins, wrens, goldcrests, chaffinches, in winter foraging flocks.

Unknown cup fungus   Unknown club fungus

There are all kinds of fascinating fungi among the leaf litter at this time of year.  This tiny cup fungus was on a dead willow twig on the ground covered by fallen leaves to provide a moist microclimate.  Of course it may have been there before the leaves fell, but you seem to find more of these things under the top layer of litter in a wood than on the visible surface.  Both the inside and outside of the cup have (relatively) long white hairs.  These hairs seem the same length on young specimens as on old, so on the young ones they are as long as the cup rim is wide.  The cup rim is colourless but the inside is bright white.

The dingy-pink club fungus on the right may be Clavaria umbrinella, but probably not, as this is rare.  It was at the foot of a birch tree among leaf litter and moss.  Another one was in a similar position up against a mossy rock rather than a tree.  The surface is wrinkled but not hairy, though through the microscope it glistens with minute hairs or glands.  Branched multiple times starting from the base.  Flesh whitish, solid, rather gelatinous, breakable rather than fibrous.

Unknown mushroom under Hazel   Unknown mushroom under Hazel

Unknown mushroom under Hazel

This mushroom with the strikingly abrupt changes of direction of the cap surface was plentiful under Hazel.  Cap fairly dry, colour in between grey and brown, making keying very difficult.  Stem has areas of matted hyphae appressed on surface.  Stem is fibrous, fibres thin, outer third of stem cross-section dark brown like stem surface, middle third pale brown, inner third hollow.  No smell.  Spores white.  Don't know whether to call gills adnexed or free, see top right pic.  Assuming they're adnexed, it keys to Tricholoma in Bon but doesn't match any.

Phragmatobia fuliginosa caterpillar   Unknown caterpillar on Filipendula ulmaria

The Ruby Tiger caterpillar on the left was moving very actively over dead Bracken.  I don't know what the one on the right is, on Meadowsweet.  It was found in this position, so no proof that Meadowsweet was its food plant, but the leaf it was on had been nibbled by something, so it does seem likely.  Fox Moth and Drinker caterpillars were also seen today.



All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer