Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Wed 30 May 2007 Taynuilt

Streptopelia decaoctoThis pair of Collared Doves often perches in the dead tree outside my window.  One is a lot paler than the other.

Thu 7 Jun 2007 Kilchrenan to Loch an Droighinn

Saxicola torquata, male   Saxicola torquata, female   Emberiza schoeniclus, male

These three birds were all in the same tree - Male Stonechat, female Stonechat and male Reed Bunting.  The female Stonechat is a more distant shot than the others as she left the tree when I got closer.

Curlews were calling all day, with occasional bursts of song.  Whinchats were also present on the moor, and at one point I accidentally put up a Grey Wagtail from its nest, and saw the nest with 5 eggs right in front of my face, in a mossy rock crevice under trees by a small waterfall.  I hurried away as quick as I could, and I'm sure she'll have got back to it before any predators.  It seemed an ideal spot to have a nest, both for defence and access to food.

Parasemia plantaginis   Epirrhoe tristata, mating pair

The Wood Tiger moth is found in open moorland despite its name, and lays its eggs on Bell Heather, which incidentally has already started to bloom.  Here it is clinging to Purple Moor-grass, with its wings angled forward.  On the right is a mating pair of the Small Argent & Sable moth, on Bog Myrtle beside the loch.

Inachis io larvae   Sialis sp

Young Peacock butterfly caterpillars feeding on a nettle.  The insect hanging upside down on a grass stem is an Alder Fly, there were many of them flying about by the loch edge.

Small Heath butterflies were out in numbers today.

Conopodium majus, form with compact umbels   Ulota crispa s.l.

This is an unusual form of Pignut which I've never seen or heard of before.  Instead of an umbel made up of several small sub-umbels, there is a single large globular umbel at the end of each stem.

The little cushion moss on a twig is Ulota crispa s.l.  Some authors divide this into U crispa and U bruchii, but I can't tell which this one is and am content to lump them.

Juncus squarrosus   Carex pauciflora

I like to capture the common moorland rushes and sedges in flower, before they settle into the more familiar fruiting stage which is how the books show them and how most people know them.  This is the Heath Rush, showing off its stamens and styles.  On the other hand, there is something to be said for the simplicity of a sedge in fruit, especially when it's as minimalist as Few-flowered Sedge, in the RH pic.  The blurry background is black peat and golden sphagnum; the sedge, and another fifty like it, were in a surprise pocket of genuine bog in otherwise rather grassy moorland.

Other interesting plants noted were Globe Flower, in open flat nothing-special grassland, and Marestail (Hippuris vulgaris) in a ditch-like stretch of burn.

Eriophorum vaginatum

Bog Cotton on the skyline, zoom shot looking up the slope from beside the loch.

Evening, back home...

Capreolus capreolus   Vulpes vulpes

Towards dusk I spotted a Roebuck through my window and took the only photo I'm ever likely to get of this elusive creature.  Even later, through the other window, there was a fox at the far end of the field.  I'm surprised the pic has come out at all.  As with the roedeer, I've never managed a fox pic outdoors, so I'm glad to have got this one.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer