Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Sun 2 Sep 2007 Glen Lonan
Crested Dogstail with proliferous spikelets; don't recall seeing it do this before. It was in woodland, and there was at least one other similar spike. The eggs (if that's what they are) are on a leaf of Jointed Rush on moorland, and I've no idea what laid them. Most have two or three exit (or entry) holes.
The Broom Moth caterpillar on one of its food plants, Bracken. This caterpillar is often seen in open country; its main colour can be green or brown but the yellow stripes are constant. This Meadowsweet leaf underside has the larva of the gall-midge Dasineura pustulans, whose gall is a mere dimple in the leaf. Above it in the picture is another dimple whose occupant has left, as most have by now.
Did not see a single Scotch Argus butterfly all day; just three weeks ago we were overrun with them. Saw first Fly Agaric of the autumn.
DRY STONE WALL SURVEY
The main object of my visit was to check up on some of my walls and see if I could make any more progress in getting to grips with their great variety of mosses.
In the south of England, apparently, walls in shade have a much reduced flora, but here it is the opposite, the wall vegetation becomes really luxuriant under trees and often you're hard put to see any stone at all. The LH pic is typical of these conditions, and shows the leaves of Wood Sorrel, the lichen Peltigera membranacea, and two mosses, Rhytidadelphus squarrosus creeping over the lichen and Isothecium myosuroides above it in the top right. The RH pic shows the Isothecium myosuroides with fruiting capsules.
This glistening golden-green cushion is Grimmia trichophylla. The RH pic shows mysterious green bobbles which were all over the bryophyte carpet on one small section of wall. They're not part of any of the underlying moss or liverwort species as they occurred on several different ones. As usual with mysterious bobbles, I can only guess that they're a slime mould.
These frosty stars are created by an unknown species of crustose
lichen growing over the moss Polytrichum piliferum. In the lower part of
the picture it is growing over another moss, though at the time I thought this
was just its natural form on the stone. Possibly it is confined to mosses,
but despite that unusual habit I can't identify it at all. It had tiny
black filaments all over its surface, not visible in the picture, but I think
these must have been a hyper-epiphyte and not part of the lichen. The
knobbly lichen in the RH pic is Stereocaulon dactylophyllum.
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer