Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)
Sat 13 Oct 2007 Inverawe woods
Autumn in the woods means acorns; not a great crop this year, could only find singletons within reach. Perhaps there are more in the canopy. This Red Squirrel will be hoping so as it fattens up for winter. I had wonderful views of it scampering up and down the birches, but unfortunately it was directly between me and the sun (which was not out but behind very thin cloud) so photography was pretty hopeless. Will go back to same spot and see if it appears again.
The lichen Cladonia macilenta is very common on trees in these woods, the green basal squamules clothing the trunk and the bluish red-tipped podetia ascending out of them here and there. The RH pic is taken looking up a Beech trunk, above head height, you can tell the scale from the Beech leaf in the top R corner. The cascade of black bobbles between the mossy areas consists of fruitbodies of Brittle Cinder Fungus (Kretzschmaria deusta). Broken-off bits resemble pieces of charcoal.
The fungi on the left looked like sheep droppings at first, as only the caps were showing above the Polytrichum moss it was growing in - I moved some moss out of the way to show the stems. Later I found some more developed ones, on the right. They still look rather repulsive. Apparently they are normally paler than this, and go by the vernacular name of Jelly Babies
Autumn colours on the Scaly Male Fern, which is abundant in this damp woodland. We haven't had Parmelia sulcata with apothecia (fruit-bodies) before, so here it is. The apothecia are the two roundish things in the middle, their rims crumbly with soredia, which also cover much of the lichen surface. One way or another, then, this thing is determined to reproduce. All the lichen in the pic is P sulcata apart from the crinkly stuff in the lower left which is Platismatia glauca, and the small unknown pale blue piece on the right.
Still no large ground fungi about, apart from this Chanterelle and a couple more nearby. The wood has a dry-stone wall that I'm including in my survey, though due to the humid conditions it has a much less restricted flora than walls out in the open. Here is the start of the wall; it does find its way to the road eventually, where it gets a bit of daylight and the flora becomes more normal.
These are two of the wall's inhabitants. The toothy dog lichen Peltigera hymenina, and, with the dog lichen still in the background, the liverwort Scapania nemorea. The dark items at the stem tips are gemmae which break off to form new plants. I haven't found either of these species on my other walls.
I've recently discovered the games Samorost and Samorost2, which are more works of art than games. They incorporate images from mossy woods, with several recognisable bryophytes and lichens, and others which are pure imagination but in keeping with the creativity of nature.
Apparently Samorost is a Czech word meaning "a root or piece of wood resembling a creature". I'll be looking out for these - the rotting tree on the right had a Samorost quality which may or may not come across in the photo.
If you sit really still and look around you, the wood comes to life in unexpected ways...
Having escaped the spirits of the wood (this time) I wandered back home along the banks of the Awe.
Wild Cherry leaves caught on Hawthorn and matching its fruit for colour. The top one was impaled on a thorn and spinning around in the wind. On the right, Ivy in flower, smothering a Hawthorn of which very little remained visible.
Red autumn leaves of Wild Cherry and the yellow of Hazel
All photos and other content copyright © Carl Farmer