Nature Notes from Skye
(and occasionally other places)
Fri 16 - Sun 18 Sep 2005 Doncaster (Part 5)
Was pleased to get a photo of this Comma butterfly as we don't have it on Skye. The blob of jelly on the Beech leaf contains eggs of the caddis fly Glyphotaelius pellucidus. They are meant to drop off into water when they're ready to hatch, but these would have fallen onto a path. Thanks to Ian Wallace for the ID.
The Pale Tussock caterpillar on Goat Willow and the Dark Dagger on Hawthorn.
We found this Buff-tailed Bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) digging its hibernation hole. You can just about see part of the bee in its hole in the centre of the picture. It dug at the rate of about one inch in five minutes. The hoverfly on Corn Sow-thistle is Episyrphus balteatus, easy to recognise because of the unique thin black line below the thick black line on two of the abdominal segments. Like some butterflies it is primarily an annual migrant although some do manage to survive our winter. The 7-spot Ladybird, seen here on Oak, is common in most of Britain, but I've never seen it or any other kind of ladybird on Skye.
The curled white larva is that of the Figwort Sawfly, Tenthredo scrophulariae. Thanks to Alan Dale of http://www.bugsandweeds.co.uk for this ID. The other two pictures are of shield bugs. The first is the Birch Shield Bug, Elasmostethus interstinctus. The second is the Gorse Shield Bug, Piezodorus lituratus, which will turn fully green in the Spring after hibernation.
The micro-moth caterpillar Callisto denticulella mines Apple leaves and also folds their edges under. The corresponding area on the top side of the leaf was also mined. The RH pic shows an internal leaf fold on Birch with a mine all round it, probably the work of the micro-moth Phyllonorycter ulmifoliella, though I can't rule out young-instar Parornix betulae/loganella as I don't know the size of their mines.
Pale Bramble Rust, Kuehneola uredinis. The Field Grasshopper, Chorthippus brunneus.
A large bracket fungus of the Ganoderma genus, on the side of a log, and a cup fungus on soil, a species of Otidea with a rather burnt appearance.
Grifola frondosa, or Hen of the Woods, a multi-tiered bracket fungus, and the Scaly Earthball, Scleroderma verrucosum.
I was delighted to find these Dead Man's Fingers (Xylaria polymorpha) as I'd often noticed their picture in the book next to the Candle-snuff Fungus (X hypoxylon), which is common on Skye, but had never seen them live before.
If you feel around the roots of a young Oak you can often find the Deer Truffle or False Truffle, Elaphomyces granulatus, shown here broken open to reveal the brown spore mass.
The second ever slime mould on my life list, and like the first I wouldn't have known it was one if someone hadn't told me. Looking like bits of scrambled egg on the woodland floor, it's called Flowers of Tan.
Once again I would like to say how much I appreciate the way so many knowledgeable people were prepared to educate the ignorant on these outings. You learn about so much more than galls when you go out with the BPGS.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer