Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Wed 19 Mar 2008 Sgeir a'Chait to Rubha Ban, coast W of Taynuilt

Polysiphonia lanosa   Prasiola stipitata

I mentioned previously that the Egg Wrack from Ganavan round to Inverawe seems free of its usual epiphtye Polysiphonia lanosa.  This stretch of shore proved me wrong, as in some places the red alga did have a feeble foothold (above left), though it was always very sparse where it occurred.

The green alga in the 2nd pic is Prasiola stipitata.  It forms a matted top to a boulder that's well down the shore but whose tip is probably just above the level of the highest tides, as evidenced by the mini "beach" of gravel deposited there.  The boulder is probably a popular bird perch which would provide the nitrogen this green seaweed requires.

There were 4 Teal on the shore, but they put out to sea when they saw me.  Curlew, Wigeon, Oystercatchers, Mallard and Goldeneye were also present.  Coltsfoot was in flower.

Bartramia pomiformis   Fissidens taxifolius ssp taxifolius

The damp north-facing rocks along this coast have an incredible array of bryophytes.  The one with the apples on sticks is Bartramia pomiformis, and the shiny dark green one is Fissidens taxifolius.

Atrichum undulatum with sporophytes   Atrichum undulatum leaves

Atrichum undulatum, from the woodland floor, with sporophytes in the first pic and a close-up of the toothed undulate leaves in the second.

Wed 26 Mar 2008 Glencoe

Went to a Red Squirrel talk at the National Trust Visitor Centre.  It was a dull evening weather-wise.

Mam na Gualainn from Glencoe NT Centre

Mam na Gualainn from the Glencoe National Trust Centre

Bidean nam Bian from Glencoe village

Bidean nam Bian from Glencoe village

The squirrel talk was fascinating and the following day there was a walk to look for signs of squirrels.

Thu 27 Mar 2008 Glencoe

Sciurus vulgarisThe squirrel walk was in Glenrigh Forest near the Corran Ferry.  We not only found squirrel dreys and feeding signs but had excellent views of Red Squirrels themselves scurrying about in the still-bare larches.  They were too far away for my camera to get a decent photo, or even focus on the squirrels through the maze of branches, but we could see them perfectly well through binoculars and observe their behaviour for as long as we cared to stay there.

I drove back via Glencoe to do a bit of early-season plant recording in the good weather.

        

 

NE end of Beinn Fhada ridge, Glencoe

This time the hills had a more cheerful look about them.  This is the NE end of the Beinn Fhada ridge, with stags grazing in the foreground.

Cervus elaphus

A closer view of the stags

Cervus elaphus

Stags on the run

Eriophorum vaginatum   Andreaea rupestris

Plant-wise the only sign of spring on the moors is a few early shoots of Harestail Bog-cotton, which will later develop the familiar fluffy white heads.

Andreaea rupestris is a moss that forms low black-looking patches on moorland rocks, but on closer inspection contains a reddish-brown and a goldish-green as well as a purplish-black.

Am Bodach, Glencoe

The crags of Am Bodach as seen from the road through Glencoe.  In the lower right is a band of pink rock typical of the Glencoe mountains.
 

       
                 

All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer