Nature Notes from Argyll
(and occasionally other places)

Mon 31 Mar 2008 Glen Lochy

Ulota bruchii   Scapania gracilis

The moss Ulota bruchii with its ribbed spindle-shaped capsules, on a Willow branch.  Ulota's form these easily recognisable clumps on tree trunks, branches and twigs, but it can be difficult to determine the species.

Also common on trees is the dull green liverwort Scapania gracilis whose sporophytes are shown here with their translucent stalks.

Wed 2 Apr 2008 Ganavan

Calm, dry, lightly overcast.  The first summer visitor of the year, a female Wheatear, bouncing from rock to grassy perch.  A pair of Ringed Plovers by the shore who may stay to breed.  Skylark singing overhead.  Harestail Bog-cotton is still the only real moorland plant to put up flowering shoots, though the odd Celandine and Primrose are flowering on the moors and the bright green of young Deergrass shoots is visible.

Lophocolea bidentata   Pseudoscleropodium purum

Since it's pretty much still winter on the moorland, here are a couple more of its bryophyte inhabitants.  The liverwort Lophocolea bidentata and a very golden version of Pseudoscleropodium purum.

Sat 5 Apr 2008 Glen Nant

Occasional warm sun, otherwise chilly with occasional showers.

Sphagnum squarrosum   Ceratodon purpureus

Sphagnum squarrosum is one of the easier Sphagnums to recognise, its spreading branch-leaves giving it a spiky look.  The red moss on a tree stump is Ceratodon purpureus.

Tussilago farfara   Lacerta vivipara

But Spring is here, time to forget about mosses and be dazzled by the flowers.  Not many are showing yet, but those of Coltsfoot certainly are.  Other species seen in flower in the wood were Primrose, Hairy Woodrush, Opposite-leaved Golden Saxifrage, Barren Strawberry (1 only), and of course Lesser Celandine.  Every day from now on there'll be new kinds joining them.

This Common Lizard was the first reptile I'd seen since moving to Argyll.  It was basking on a tree stump but darted for cover when I got the camera out.  To tell the truth it was originally lying in such a contorted position, with its orange belly upwards, that I thought it was dead, so I didn't worry about disturbing it.  I'll know next time.  It would have been a rare opportunity to get a photo of the black-spotted orange belly (which proved it to be a male).  Later in the day another lizard dashed through the grass at my feet, so there must be a fair number of them about.

Tue 8 Apr 2008 Taynuilt

The first Swallows!  Also a pair of Reed Bunting in the same place, in the deer field on the Brochroy road.  Wood anemone, Cowslip, Thale Cress flowering.


All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer