Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Sat 14 Jul 2007 British Plant Gall Society Meeting - Day 2 of 3 - Cawdor Wood. Rain!
We saw a good selection of woodland galls here, including Eriophyes similis on Blackthorn, Biorhiza pallida on Oak, Adelges abietis on Norway Spruce and Adelges cooleyi on Sitka Spruce. It was too wet for photos most of the time.
This picture, with authentic raindrop on the lens, is taken looking down into a gorge that we crossed over on a narrow bridge. The little ladybird on Bracken is the Larch Ladybird (Aphidecta obliterata), quite common but I hadn't come across it before.
This Large Yellow Underwing moth was crawling about in the grass. When we got back to our parking place we found some Common Wintergreen on a shady bank. The picture shows a fruiting spike.
On the way to our next stop we saw some large witches' broom galls on Pine trees. Apparently these are a recent phenomenon and the causer is not yet known.
We drove to Logie Steading where there is a welcome cafe and a good secondhand bookshop with lots of natural history titles. There was a fine mixed hedge in the grounds that provided plenty of galls, and we explored the east bank of the River Findhorn nearby.
The mouth of Dracula, aka Gymnosporangium clavariiforme, a fungal gall on Hawthorn. Other galls found included Dasineura lathyricola on Meadow Vetchling, Eriophyes padi and E paderineus on Bird Cherry, Contarinia tiliarum and Eriophyes leiosoma on Common Lime and Eriosoma ulmi on Wych Elm. Leaf-mines of the weevil Rhynchaenus fagi were spotted on Beech.
And another new ladybird to me, the Orange Ladybird (Halyzia 16-guttata).
With the showers getting heavier we decided to move on a disused quarry on the Dava Moors, where we found two interesting galls on Heath Bedstraw.
The first is a mite gall which makes the flowers leaflike and red, and is presumably Aculus anthobius, a gall about which there doesn't seem to be a lot of information. The statement in British Plant Galls that it occurs on Galium verum and G aparine was corrected in the latest insert to G verum, G saxatile, G uliginosum, and not G aparine.
The orange fungal gall is presumably P galii-verni, although this is normally on the leaves rather than the stems, and has not been recorded from NE Scotland.
Not many other galls were seen here but Oligotrophus juniperinus on Juniper was a good find.
Slender Heath Eyebright, with its dark leaves and tiny purple flowers, was a fine sight among the heather.
On to Day 3
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer